Mike Pence’s NFL publicity stunt cost taxpayers $242,500

Over the past several weeks, nary a sporting event of any kind has occurred where, when the National Anthem is sung, groups of people large and small have taken a knee as a form of peaceful protest against police brutality. So let’s not pretend that Vice President Pence didn’t expect to see some kneeling when he and his wife, Karen Pence Karen, traveled from Las Vegas to Indianapolis to watch the Colts battle the 49ers on Sunday. And when they did, he and Karen Karen hightailed it out of there in what might go down as the most obvious publicity stunt of all time ­— and a pretty damn expensive one at that. CNN broke down the numbers for what the clearly orchestrated paid protest cost in airfare alone:

According to the Air Force, flying a C-32, the model of plane used for Air Force 2, for one hour costs about $30,000. Pence’s flight from Las Vegas to Indianapolis Saturday took about three hours and 20 minutes, so it cost about $100,000.

Pence then flew from Indianapolis to Los Angeles on Sunday, which took about four hours and 45 minutes, costing about $142,500.

$242,500. That’s what it cost (before factoring in security expenses) for Pence and his boss to stage a scene of mock disgust that no one gives a shit about — because neither the VP nor Trump seems to understand, or care, why anyone is kneeling in the first place. (Hint: It’s not a dig at America’s soldiers — though why would a five-time draft-dodger even care if that was the case.)

Let’s be honest: Keeping the NFL bitching going is an effective method for keeping the conversation away from things like, I don’t know, millions of American citizens dying in Puerto Rico while the president throws paper towels and mocks them. Or the potential for a nuclear war with North Korea because POTUS can’t resist calling Kim Jong un “Little Rocket Man.” Or the fact that the GOP was so busy trying to take away our healthcare that they let the Children’s Health Insurance Program expire. Then there’s that whole Russia collusion thing.

But, yeah: forcing hard-working Americans to foot part of that $242,500 publicity stunt seems like a much better use of government funds. Maybe if someone had explained it to Trump in Brawny terms — “You could have Mike and Mother fly to Indianapolis, or you could chuck 203,781 more rolls of paper towels at starving people in Puerto Rico” — he would have opted for the latter.

[Photo: AP]