Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to an NFL game that he walked out of due to players kneeling during the national anthem cost the Indiana Metropolitan Police Department more than $14,000, a government watchdog group said Tuesday.
Records published by the left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington show the police department spent $14,163 in security costs for Pence.
Pence’s appearance at the early October game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers stirred controversy, with many accusing the vice president of orchestrating a political stunt at the cost of taxpayers.
After leaving the game, Pence tweeted that he would not “dignify” an event that “disrespects” the U.S. flag, American soldiers or the national anthem.
President Trump later tweeted that he had asked Pence to leave the game if any players kneeled, further fueling speculation that the walkout was premeditated.
“There’s a difference between what can you can get away with legally and what is ethically right,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a news release. “At a time when the administration is proposing massive budget cuts for the federal government, it is especially inappropriate to use taxpayer dollars for a political publicity stunt.”