This afternoon, after nearly two dozen players on the San Francisco 49ers knelt during the National Anthem before a game against the hometown Indianapolis Colts, Vice President Mike Pence walked out in his own counter-protest, saying on Twitter “I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”
I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.
Donald Trump, as usual, put even that narrative into doubt with his own tweet saying that he told Pence to walk out in the case of any anthem kneeling. (Since that protest was virtually inevitable, it means Pence used taxpayer money to travel to a football game in his home state despite pre-planning his exit before the opening kickoff.)
But the Religious Right is convinced Pence did the right thing. Among those cheering Pence’s decision was Christian evangelist Franklin Graham, who offered “Three cheers for Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen for walking out!”
Got that? It’s the football players who were disrespectful by protesting systemic racism and police brutality. Pence, Graham implied, did the right thing by walking out on people who thought they were being patriotic but were actually ruining the country.
It’s a strange position for him to hold considering what he said about five months ago when Pence delivered a commencement address at Notre Dame University. A number of students walked out on the Vice President for reasons that included his “opposition to gay rights, his attempts as governor to prevent Syrian refugees from resettling in Indiana, his support of President Donald Trump’s immigration travel ban, and his opposition to sanctuary cities that do not enforce federal immigration laws.”
They, too, felt that the supposed patriot in front of them was doing more harm than good, and this was one way to show him how they felt.
So Franklin Graham must have been supportive of them as well, right?