Calling riots and violence against peace-keeping law enforcement officers "inexcusable," Vice President Mike Pence echoed President Donald Trump's vow to support cities that are getting overrun by demonstrators.
"We stand ready, as previous administrations have done, to deploy active-duty military personnel to quell the violence, to quell the looting," Pence told KDKA CBS-2 TV in Pittsburgh in an exclusive interview.
"To see these rioters that are engaging in looting, to actually see the violence against these law enforcement officers that took place last night in New York and in Missouri, is absolutely inexcusable."
Pence pointed directly at Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf as standing down to rioters and falling short in protecting his residents.
"The president and I will continue to urge governors like Gov. Wolf to call up the National Guard, deploy them to the streets in a strong and decisive manor to restore order – and the American people expect nothing less," Pence said.
Pence reiterated the Trump administration is not actively seeking to deploy military force to quell rioting, adding it is up to local leadership to ask for it.
"I'd leave that to people in the community to judge," Pence added. "We're obviously tracking violent rioting and looting in major cities around the country.
"But I do know that, as of [Monday] morning, Gov. Wolf had only called up some 500 or 600 members of the National Guard."
Asked if the vice president would kneel with demonstrators in a sign of solidarity, Pence demurred, using the term "stand" with those engaging in lawful, peaceful actions.
"We stand with peaceful protesters, as the president said, all across this country," Pence said.
Pence expressed sorrow for the death of George Floyd in the custody of now-fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for his kneeling on Floyd's neck for as many as eight minutes, ultimately leading to Floyd's death.
"We are saddened by the tragic death of George Floyd, as I believe every American was horrified to see that video," Pence told Michigan's Fox-2 TV. "As the president said [Monday], we stand by the peaceful protesters in expressing their disdain for what took place on the streets of Minneapolis."
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