Vice President Pence visits Minneapolis to highlight importance of law enforcement

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Ivanka Trump held a Cops for Trump listening session at the Intercontinental Hotel at MSP on Thursday to highlight their support for Minnesotan police officers. Around 100 Minnesotans filled the seats in the small hotel ballroom. Supporters wore flashy clothing advertising their support for Trump’s campaign. Bedazzled hats and jackets filled the stands in support of President Trump and Vice President Pence. During breaks, music played loudly through the speakers and some audience members danced to the music while waiting for the event to start.
There was a culmination of speakers before Pence arrived who shared their opinions and stories about the Cops for Trump movement and their own experiences with cops themselves. The speakers ranged from CEO of My Pillow, Mike Lindell; Republican candidate for Congress, Lacey Johnson; and Jason Lewis, former U.S. Representative. They discussed their experiences and opinions they had on the looting and rioting that took place in Minneapolis earlier this summer. They also expressed their support for the Cops of Minnesota in each of their speeches. The crowd was very interactive and interested in each of the speakers as there were many verbal responses to what each speaker was saying.
Once Pence and Ivanka Trump arrived at the event the crowd went wild as they made their entrance. In his opening speech, Pence explained the motto for the listening session which was “Cops for Trump” by repeating and stating that “America backs the Blue” and that “President Trump, this Vice President, and the American people stand with the men and women in law enforcement.” He continued on by sharing experiences he had with law enforcement in his own life and how they impacted him before moving on to the main part of the event.
Pence and Trump were not alone on the stage. There were a few panelists that surrounded the Vice President who were there to share their stories and experiences with the crowd. The panelists were local Minneapolis business owners whose businesses were negatively affected by the rioting and looting that occurred shortly after the death of George Floyd. They shared stories of the moments leading up to the riots and the morning after their businesses and stores had been impacted by the events from the previous night. Joan West, one of the panelists and owner of Schatzlein Saddle Shop, shared her experience with the riots.
“[The store] is my livelihood and to watch it on TV was heartbreaking,” she said. “There was nothing we could do.”
Many of the panelists continued on to talk about how they felt “helpless” and how they were afraid to see the aftermath of the riots and discover what may have become of their small business. The panelists expressed their initial reactions and feelings after watching the riots and seeing the negative effects the riots had on the community and their individual businesses.
Later, Matthew Hagen, President of the Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police, joined in on the conversation with the panelists and Pence. He shared his experience of being involved in law enforcement during the riots and how he and his fellow officers were affected by the events. He said, “The events in Minneapolis were something like I’ve never seen before. […] It keeps getting worse.”
Towards the end of the event, Pence spoke for the last time to give one more message to the supporters in the crowd. He said, “I promise you. I promise you, folks. With four more years with President Donald Trump in the White House, we’re going to provide more support for law enforcement. […] We’re going to have four more years to back the blue.”
The applause grew louder and the crowd cheered as Vice President Pence left the podium.