Was Memphis visit by VP Mike Pence nothing more than a patronizing photo op, asks Otis Sanford?

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Memphis.

Was the Memphis visit by Vice President Mike Pence nothing more than a patronizing photo op? The partisans on both sides of the political fence can debate the question all day. And both sides would have valid points.

Perhaps there was a political motive to Pence’s visit to the National Civil Rights Museum – and Holy City Church of God in Christ – on the eve of today’s Martin Luther King holiday. After all, a recent national poll found that most African Americans are deeply pessimistic about the Donald Trump presidency. And eight in 10 believe the President is a racist.

But while the poll results were a notable backdrop to Pence’s Memphis visit, I believe there was some genuineness in his desire to come to the Bluff City. Yes, Pence has stood silently by as Trump has denigrated black politicians, cursed at black athletes, and shown an appalling lack of knowledge of black history. But I take Pence at his word that Dr. King was one of his childhood heroes. And his tour of the civil rights museum was sincere and apolitical.

Pence’s remarks at Holy City Church, however, did venture into campaign talking points. But he was warmly greeted by the congregation – which was appropriate.

Today’s MLK holiday should be a special day for all Americans. That includes a Veep who – despite all that’s wrong with this administration – deserves the benefit – of the doubt. And that’s my point of view.

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