PHILADELPHIA — Vice President Mike Pence swung by Philadelphia Thursday with a two-pronged mission to attack his predecessor, ex-Veep Joe Biden, and to praise the region’s police officers.
Pence spoke at the lodge of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police for a “Back the Blue” rally. The visit was part of a three-stop bus tour for the VP, who attended a fundraiser in Lancaster County and a round-table discussion in Chester earlier in the day.
He was effusive in his praise for the police, asserting that they are “what separates order from chaos.”
“At a time when the radical left is trying to smear police officers. I want you to know the President knows, this Vice President knows and I think the overwhelming majority of Americans know, the men and women of law enforcement are the best people in America,” the vice president declared.
Pence also took a direct shot at Biden.
“I heard that just yesterday Joe Biden said that well-armed police, in his words, become the enemy,” Pence told the assembled. “And he said that he would, quote, absolutely cut funding for law enforcement.”
Pence presented Biden’s comments, however, in a bit of a misleading way.
The statements in question came from an interview Biden conducted with activist Ady Barkan that was posted Wednesday.
“Surplus military equipment for law enforcement, they don’t need that,” Biden stated at one point. “The last thing you need is an armored humvee coming into a neighborhood. It’s like the military invading, they don’t know anybody, they become the enemy. They’re supposed to be protecting these people. My generic point is that-”
“But do we agree that we can redirect some of the funding?” Barkan interjected.
“Yes, absolutely,” Biden responded before moving on to a discussion of prison reform.
It was a friendly and polite audience for the vice president as the FOP endorsed Trump in the 2016 campaign. President John McNesby has also twice visited the White House in March 2017 and December 2019.
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. made an unannounced appearance to the gathering, denouncing critics of police conduct and pledging to stand with the officers.
“This is the time to step up our support. I stand with you,” Toomey said. “This administration stands with you. I’ve got your back and I’m grateful for the work you do every day.”
Despite Philadelphia being a heavily Democratic city, the lodge is located in a relatively red area in the Northeast part of the county.
Crowds gathered outside the venue to get a glimpse of the Vice Presidential motorcade. There were numerous Trump/Pence signs and flags along the route including a notable one which read “Trump 2020: No More Bulls**t”.
Correspondent Nick Field covers Philadelphia and its suburbs for the Capital-Star. Follow him on Twitter @Nick_Field90.