VP Pence calls pres­i­dent a ‘cham­pion’ of in­ner cities

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence on Fri­day called Don­ald Trump a “great cham­pion” of Amer­ica’s in­ner cities. Pence made the re­marks dur­ing a speech be­fore an anti-vi­o­lence group in his home state of In­di­ana. The Repub­li­can former In­di­ana gov­er­nor heaped praise on the faith-based group, called the Ten Point Coali­tion, which lo­cal au­thor­i­ties credit for help­ing to reduce homi­cides in sev­eral neigh­bor­hoods, even though the over­all murder rate is up.

Trump “and I talked about it this morn­ing,” Pence said. “All of you who feel called to con­front the chal­lenge of ur­ban youth vi­o­lence - you have an ally, an ad­vo­cate and a cham­pion in Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.” But con­sid­er­ing Trump was swept into of­fice fol­low­ing a cam­paign that traf­ficked in racial and anti-im­mi­grant themes, not ev­ery­one is con­vinced. A group of about 30 protesters, in­clud­ing some sport­ing Black Lives Matter shirts, protested out­side the fundrais­ing event at a down­town ho­tel.

Joe Slash, the former head of the In­di­anapo­lis Ur­ban League, told The In­di­anapo­lis Star that “a lot of peo­ple in the black com­mu­nity don’t have fond feel­ings for Mike Pence and there’s been a neg­a­tive re­ac­tion about their bring­ing him here for a fundraiser.” Slash said the Ten Point Coali­tion “should have con­sulted peo­ple be­fore they made that de­ci­sion” though he cred­ited the group with reach­ing out across the aisle.

The coali­tion, led by sev­eral African-Amer­i­can min­is­ters, is known for its cam­paigns to stem vi­o­lence in crime-plagued city neigh­bor­hoods. It uses com­mu­nity mem­bers, in some cases re­formed gang mem­bers, to de-es­ca­late neigh­bor­hood ten­sion. Pence said the group “lit­er­ally ev­ery­day works mir­a­cles in the evening hours of the streets of In­di­anapo­lis” and he said their model should be ex­ported to other cities.

The speech was not Pence’s only stop in In­di­anapo­lis. He also at­tended a State­house cer­e­mony where his of­fi­cial state por­trait was un­veiled, which the vice pres­i­dent said left him “deeply hum­bled.” Pence’s por­trait shows the one-term Repub­li­can seated on top of his desk, with an open Bi­ble and a fam­ily pic­ture to his right. A stack of law books is to his left, with In­di­ana and US flags in the back­ground. Pence is also wear­ing a blue and gold tie de­signed by wife Karen Pence - that is based on the state’s logo. —AP

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