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Mike Pence Refused To Say ‘Black Lives Matter’ During Juneteenth Interview

by : Lucy Connolly on : 20 Jun 2020 15:23

Mike Pence repeatedly refused to say the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ during a Juneteenth interview, instead choosing to say ‘all lives matter’.

The vice president made the remarks during an interview yesterday, June 19, aka Juneteenth – a day that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the US.

The day has taken on renewed significance in recent years, notably in the wake of George Floyd‘s death and the ongoing protests for racial equality, 155 years after it was proclaimed that all slaves in Texas – and the whole of the US – were free.

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Black Lives MatterBlack Lives MatterPA Images

During the interview with Philadelphia ABC affiliate WPVI, anchor Brian Taff asked the vice president if he would say the words ‘Black Lives Matter‘.

The request came as Taff noted that ‘only really a handful of elected Republican leaders’ had been willing to say the phrase in recent weeks amid ongoing worldwide protests against racial injustice.

Despite being asked directly and repeatedly if he would utter the three short words, Pence refused, insisting that ‘all lives matter’, therefore missing the point entirely.

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Mike Pence at White House press conferenceMike Pence at White House press conferencePA Images

‘I wonder sir, if those are words that you will utter right here today,’ Taff asked the vice president. ‘Black Lives Matter. Can you say those words?’

Pence responded:

Well Brian let me just say that what happened to George Floyd was a tragedy.

In this nation, especially on Juneteenth, we celebrate the fact that from the founding of this nation, we cherish the ideal that all, all of us are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. And so, all lives matter in a very real sense.

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He then went on to talk about President Trump’s promise that ‘justice would be served’ before saying the administration would not defund the police – it would instead be ‘supporting law enforcement’ by funding them new resources to raise standards.

ProtestsProtestsPA Images

Basically, he talked about everything but Black Lives Matter. Taff then pressed Pence on the issue, telling him that saying the phrase ‘is an acknowledgement that black lives also matter at a time in this country when it appears that there’s a segment of our society that doesn’t agree’.

The vice president again refused to say the words, instead saying: ‘Well, I don’t accept the fact, Brian, that there’s a segment of American society that disagrees in the preciousness and importance of every human life.’

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He continued:

While we acknowledge the concern of protesters… I must tell you that we’re absolutely determined to improve the lives of our African American citizens with more job opportunities, more educational opportunities, and this administration will remain committed to doing what we’ve been doing all along.

brian taff interviews mike pencebrian taff interviews mike penceWPVI

‘And yet, one final time, you won’t say the words and we understand your explanation,’ Taff said, before moving the conversation on.

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Pence’s comments came as a number of Democrats have become more vocal in their calls for their Republican colleagues to say the phrase out loud.

It looks as though we might have to wait a while though if the vice president’s statement is anything to go by.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk

Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: News, America, Black Lives Matter, Mike Pence, Now, Politics, Racism, US

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WPVI and 1 other
  1. WPVI

    Vice President Mike Pence talks Black Lives Matter with Action News' Brian Taff

  2. Black Lives Matter

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