Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a discussion at the Covenant Church of Pittsburgh in Wilkinsburg, Pa,. Friday, June 12, 2020. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Vice President Mike Pence wouldn’t say the words “black lives matter” when specifically asked to say them in an interview with a local ABC affiliate in Philadelphia. The interview took place on Friday, Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

He instead said what happened to George Floyd was a tragedy and said: “In this nation, especially on, on Juneteenth, we celebrate the fact that from the founding of this nation, we cherish the ideal that all, all of us are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. And so all lives matter in a very real sense.”

Interviewer Brian Taff pressed Pence on why he would not say the words, which have become a nationwide rallying cry against racial injustice and police violence.

“People are saying, of course, all lives matter. But to say the words is an acknowledgement that black lives also matter in a time in this country when it appears that there’s a segment of our society that doesn’t agree. So why would you not say those words?” Taff asked.

“Well, I don’t accept the fact, Brian, that there is a segment of American society that disagrees in the preciousness and importance of every human life,” Pence replied.

Pence told CBS News Radio earlier this month that he believes racism exists in America as it does everywhere.

“I acknowledge that there is racism in America, just as there is in every nation,” Pence said. 

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