Vice President Mike Pence's moment of tribute to Kobe Bryant, "one of the greatest basketball players the world has ever seen," and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna following their deaths in a helicopter crash rubbed some Twitter users the wrong way. After Pence took to the social media platform to honor the late NBA legend shortly after news of his death broke, some criticized his tweet.
Today we lost one of the greatest basketball players the world has ever seen and his beautiful daughter Gianna. Karen and I are praying for Vanessa and the entire Bryant family as they mourn the loss of their loving Father, husband, sister, and daughter.— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) January 27, 2020
"These are very nice sentiments, but what about the OTHER 7 people on that helicopter?" asked one person. "Aren't they just as important? Everyone ignoring them just irks me."
"It's after 9 in the evening and you're just getting around to this," wrote another, feeling that Pence's response should have come far sooner. "Well, better late than not at all, I guess."
"What about the others?" questioned someone else. "What about the children who have died at the border under US custody? Do they deserve a prayer too? Hypocrite."
"What about the other families that lost their loves ones?" tweeted a fourth person. "Any life lost is too much! Prayers should be for all of the the families that lost their family and friends. Two children lost both of their parents also, no one is saying anything about that. Very sad!"
Many more responded by pointing out Bryant's own stance on the Trump administration, sharing a Sept. 23, 2017-dated post from Bryant criticizing President Donald Trump.
Pence's tweet joined several other tributes shared by political figures following the Sunday, Jan. 26 helicopter crash, which killed Bryant, Gianna, her Mamba Sports Academy teammates Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, Payton's mother Sarah Chester, Altobelli's parents John and Keri Altobelli, Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan.
Just after news of Bryant's death, the president took to Twitter to pay tribute, writing that it "is terrible news!"0comments
"Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act," former President Barack Obama wrote on Twitter. "To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day."
Although the crash has been ruled accidental, an official cause has not yet been determined. An investigation is ongoing.