A Pence spokesman said the VP « understands and supports » the school’s « decision to prioritize the safety and well-being of their students. »
In his address to the Republican National Convention from Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Vice President Mike Pence said Americans « won’t be safe » in Joe Biden’s America and forcefully defended law enforcement amid rising race tension. (Aug. 27)
WASHINGTONÂ âÂ Wisconsin Lutheran College on Thursday said it is replacing Vice President Mike Pence as Saturday’s commencement speaker because of « escalating events » in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Even before theÂ shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday by WisconsinÂ police, the school’s choice of Pence drew complaints fromÂ some students and alumni who said it would politicize the ceremony that falls two months before election day.
In a statement Thursday, the school said that after « further reviewÂ with careful consideration of the escalating events in Kenosha »Â the board and administration jointly decided to have the Rev. Mark Jeske of St. Marcus Lutheran Church speak instead.
Pence spokesman Devin O’Malley said the vice president « understands and supports » the school’s « decision to prioritize the safety and well-being of their students. »
Pence « wishes the students well as they celebrate the accomplishment of graduating from college and as they embark on their next journey, » O’Malley said in a statement.
Pence mentioned Wisconsin in his speech to the Republican National Convention Wednesday in which he told voters they would « not be safe in Joe Bidenâs America. »
« The violence must stop, whether in Minneapolis, Portland or Kenosha, » Pence said. « We will have law and order on the streets of this country for every American of every race and creed and color. »
âWith all due respect Mr. Vice President, that violence is happening right now in Donald Trumpâs America,â Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders said on a call with reporters.Â âYou own this.â
Wisconsin Luther College had initially defended theÂ decision to invite Pence, saying it was not an endorsement of a political party and âcannotâ be viewed as a political event.
âWe believe it is possible within our context to leave partisan politics at the door and to celebrate America, our freedoms, Christian servant leadershipÂ and our graduates’ immense accomplishments,â the statement said.
But more than 100 students and alumni signed an online open letterÂ calling the decision âblatantly inappropriate.â
âThe mere invitation of a vice president of an incredibly divisive and controversial ticket to speak in a swing state months before an election is ignorant and deceptive,â the letter reads. âWLC cannot reasonably suggest that this is not an endorsement of any political party or candidate(s).â
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