How much did Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Indianapolis to watch — and then abruptly leave — a football game Sunday between the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers cost?
Here is an estimate of just the air costs (which does not include costs of advance personnel, Secret Service or support on the ground):
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.
The grand total: about $242,500.
Some costs of the flight into Los Angeles will be reimbursed by the Republican National Committee because Pence is attending a political event there.
If he had flown just from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, a trip lasting about 90 minutes, the cost would have been about $45,000.
A Pence aide said the Indianapolis trip was planned for weeks because former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was being honored at the game; the Las Vegas leg, however, was put on the schedule in recent days, adding to the total expenditures.
“The Vice President was not going to miss the Las Vegas memorial prayer walk on Saturday, which he was honored to attend on behalf of President Trump,” another aide said in a statement to CNN. “If the Vice President did not go to Indiana for the Colts game, he would have flown back to D.C. for the evening — which means flying directly over Indiana. Instead, he made a shorter trip to Indiana for a game that was on his schedule for several weeks.”
Pence left the game after some players knelt during the National Anthem, saying he did not want to “dignify” the demonstration.
“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,” Pence wrote on Twitter.
The vice president went on to issue a full statement opposing the protest.
President Donald Trump tweeted afterward that he asked Pence to leave the stadium.
“I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen,” Trump tweeted.
The pool of journalists accompanying the vice president was not allowed into the stadium and was asked to stay in their vans. They were told by a staffer that “there may be an early departure from the game,” but were not given any further details.
Some criticized Trump and Pence for the walkout, with Hawaii Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz tweeting, “Wait. This was orchestrated to make a point? That’s not an inexpensive thing to do.”