Politics

Pence Hits Press for Dissing Return of Dead GIs’ Remains from North Korea

'There's a lot of people in the so-called mainstream media that would do well to spend a little bit more time ... listening to the American people'

Image Credit: ONEN ZILBERMAN / AFP / Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence rebuked “so-called mainstream media” networks who refused live coverage of Wednesday’s ceremony in Hawaii that honored the remains of missing Americans killed during the Korean War. And he urged news executives to “spend a little bit more time” tuning in to Americans’ concerns.

“I think there’s a lot of people in the so-called mainstream media that would do well to spend a little bit more time traveling across this country and listening to the American people,” Pence said during an interview broadcast Thursday on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.”

Pence participated in the ceremony honoring the presumed remains of 55 U.S. servicemen arriving from North Korea. The remains were returned to the U.S. following President Donald Trump’s historic June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore, at which the two leaders discussed denuclearization of the peninsula.

Related: With Pence Presiding, the Presumed Remains of American Dead Return from Korea to Our Soil

Trump revealed early Thursday morning that he had received a follow-up letter from Kim.

“Thank you to Chairman Kim Jong-un for keeping your word & starting the process of sending home the remains of our great and beloved missing fallen!” Trump tweeted Thursday. “I am not at all surprised that you took this kind action. Also, thank you for your nice letter — l look forward to seeing you soon!”

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Pence also took to Twitter to honor the fallen U.S. servicemen, noting Thursday that “some have called the Korean War the ‘forgotten war.’ But yesterday, we proved these heroes were never forgotten … May God bless the memory of our fallen and their families.”

“There is a promise that we leave no man behind. Today, what the American people saw and what the world saw, was the United States saying that we will keep that promise, even nearly seven decades later,” Pence added.

But Fox News reported that some mainstream media networks ignored or downplayed the significance of the ceremony.

CNN spent only 58 seconds covering the ceremony live — while MSNBC did not cover it live at all. “ABC World News Tonight” spent only 24 seconds covering the ceremony, while “CBS Evening News” and “NBC Nightly News” ignored it altogether, according to Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” host Sandra Smith.

“That stands in stark contrast to the coverage right here on the Fox News channel, of course,” Smith told Fox News’ “Media Buzz” host Howard Kurtz, who pointed out that Fox News “covered the whole thing.”

“Look, I understand the temptation to cover more controversial Trump news. But that was the wrong call, and here’s why,” Kurtz said. “One, you can’t overstate the emotional significance of these presumed remains of American fighting soldiers coming home 65 years after the Korean War ended.”

“And two, all of this is intricately tied to the nuclear negotiations, as was made clear by [White House press secretary] Sarah Sanders, talking about Kim Jong-un sending a letter to Trump talking about perhaps the next steps,” Kurtz added. “It’s a chess move in a much more complex competition. And I say for both of those reasons, it was a mistake to either just dip into it or completely blow it off.”

Related: North Korea ‘No Longer’ a ‘Nuclear Threat,’ Trump Claims

Pence urged mainstream media outlets to refocus their attention on issues that average Americans care about, which he argued included Wednesday’s ceremony.

“It was very humbling for me to be there. I spoke to the president shortly after the ceremony, and I told him I’m not sure he’s given me a greater honor than to represent him here today,” Pence told Hegseth.

“To see those 55 flag-draped cases be carried so solemnly in — and not just as a vice president, but as the son of a combat veteran from the Korean War — it was deeply moving for me. But it’s what great nations do,” Pence said.

“To see those 55 flag-draped cases be carried so solemnly in — and not just as a vice president, but as the son of a combat veteran from the Korean War — it was deeply moving for me.”

When he travels across the nation on behalf of the Trump administration and meets with Americans, Pence said he senses “a great enthusiasm across the country.”

“What I see people focused on is security at home and abroad — they’re focused on jobs and opportunities. They’re focused on ensuring that our courts respect the constitution of the United States and all the God-given liberties enshrined there,” he said.

“People see when it comes to President Donald Trump, it really has been a year and a half of promises made and promises kept,” Pence said.

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