During a recent interview with Philadelphia ABC affiliate WPVI-TV, Vice President Mike Pence was asked to say the words "black lives matter." While he acknowledged Juneteenth and George Floyd's murder, Pence refused to say outright, "black lives matter." Instead, he issued a statement in which he expressed that "all lives matter."
WPVY-TV anchor Brian Taff repeatedly asked Pence to say "black lives matter" during the interview, according to the Daily Mail. The meeting took place on Friday, which also marked Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States. In response to Taff's question about the movement, the vice president said, "Let me just say that what happened to George Floyd was a tragedy." He added, "And in this nation, especially on Juneteenth, we celebrate the fact that from the founding of this nation we've cherished 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."
Taff went on to question why Pence did not utter the words "black lives matter," saying that it was an "important distinction" to point out. The anchor explained, "People are saying, of course, all lives matter, but to say the words is an acknowledgment 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. So why will you not say those words?" Pence then said that he does not "accept" the Black Lives Matter movement, 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." He went on to say, "And it's one of the reasons why as we advance important reforms in law enforcement, as we look for ways to strengthen and improve our public safety in our cities, that we're not going to stop there."
Pence continued to claim that the Trump administration is "absolutely determined to improve" the lives of African American citizens. Although, as Taff made sure to clarify, the vice president still did not say that black lives matter. Taff ended the interview with, "And yet, one final time, you won't say the words, and we understand your explanation." Pence's statements on the Black Lives Matter movement came one day before President Donald Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Trump campaign had initially scheduled the rally for Friday. However, after the date of the event drew backlash (since it would have been held on Juneteenth and in a location that saw one of the most horrific acts of racial violence in the country's history), they moved the rally to Saturday.