Pence says he was "encouraged" to stay at White House, not join Trump at church

Vice President Mike Pence was "out of caution" with President Trump on his way to St. John's Church, he said in an interview with CBS News Radio on Friday.
"I was in the White House. And I was actually encouraged to stay in the White House out of caution. It was obviously a - volatile environment in moments, and so I was encouraged to stay. But I would have been." happy to walk through Lafayette Park with President Trump, "Pence told CBS News Radio in an interview that took place in Pittsburgh.
Some observers noted the Vice President's absence, especially given the importance of faith to him. Presidents and vice presidents are sometimes prevented from being in the same place at the same time.
The president's decision to walk across the street to the church and hold up a Bible for a photo after Lafayette Park had just been freed by protesters was soon a matter of controversy. Joint Chief of Staff Mark Milley said Thursday that his presence in the photo operation was a "mistake" that "created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics".
Milley's testimony surprised the White House, according to several sources from the White House who shared CBS News. But Pence refused to consider Milley's admission of an "error".
"I have great respect for General Milley. He leads our joint chiefs of staff with great honors. I respect his ability to speak for himself about his presence there," Pence told CBS News Radio.
Pence, along with other senior White House officials, declined to say that there is systemic racism in the country while there is racism. Pence met with African-American leaders in a church in Pittsburgh on Friday, including a pastor, Ross Owens, who said he was fed up with people who lived in a bubble and did not recognize systemic racism. Portnoy asked Pence if he agreed that there was systemic racism in the United States.
"Well, I recognize that there is racism in America, just like every nation on earth," said Pence. "And we've obviously had a great challenging story for African Americans over the past 400 years. But I really believe that every American can be proud of the progress we've made in this nation's life."
On another topic, the vice president was asked for a picture that was tweeted and then deleted from his account to show how he met with Trump Pence campaign employees who were gathered together without masks. The CDC recommends wearing masks in public, especially at any kind of gathering.
"I am very confident that all the measures have been taken there and that the office will continue to operate safely and responsibly as it continues to operate, just like companies across America," he said.
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