During a weekend interview on Face the Nation, Vice President Mike Pence was grilled by host John Dickerson about his refusal to say “Black lives matter.” As reported by Raw Story, the exchange began when Pence touched on his belief that Americans want additional support and training for police officers and an improvement in the lives of African American communities.
“One thing protesters would like to hear is leaders say Black lives matter,” Dickerson said. “You won’t say that. Why?”
In response, Pence said he has long been inspired by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and claimed to have visited his Montgomery church during his time in Congress.
“I walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday,” Pence said.
Pence then claimed to “cherish” that progress the U.S. has made for African Americans throughout the country’s history and said he has “aspired” to be a part of this progress throughout his career.
“And as a pro-life American, I also believe that all lives matter, born and the unborn,” Pence added.
As Pence began to take aim at the Black Lives Matter movement for allegedly pushing a radical left-wing agenda, Dickerson pushed back and asked the vice president to address the phrase itself. Pence was unrelenting and continued to complain about the Black Lives Movement for supporting “the kind of violence” that has historically harmed African American communities in America.
“So, you won’t say Black lives matter,” Dickerson said
“John, I really believe that all lives matter,” Pence responded. “That’s where the heart of the American people lies.”
Pence was previously pressed on the phrase while speaking to 6ABC Action News in Philadelphia earlier this month. When asked to say the words, the vice president noted the tragedy of George Floyd’s death and claimed that all Americans are created equal.
In a piece for Rolling Stone, Peter Wade noted that Pence’s response to 6ABC Action News differed from his answer to Dickerson. Wade claimed that Pence “fine-tuned” his answer and suggested that he “stumbled over the question” the first time he was pressed on the issue.
“But King was a radical leftist, and Pence is wrong to suggest otherwise,” Wade argued.
Wade also noted King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, which pointed to the police brutality that African Americans endure and call to action against racism, militarism, and extreme materialism. According to Wade, there is “no doubt” the late civil rights activist would have said Black lives matter.