Many on social media have been focusing on the travel costs rather than the principles of Mike Pence who walked out of an NFL game after players knelt for the US national anthem.

The US vice president had objected to the actions taken by a handful of players protesting the treatment of African Americans at the hands of the police.

Pence, who was attending the match between San Francisco 49ers and his home team, the Indianapolis Colts tweeted upon his exit that he "will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag and our national anthem".

However soon after he took the action on Sunday (8 October), CNN White House reporter Kevin Liptak pointed out that Pence had been in Las Vegas earlier in the day and had flown in a C32 (AF2) to Indianapolis, a plane which costs $42,936 (£32,000) an hour.

The flight from Nevada was two and a half hours and after his walkout, he flew back to Los Angeles, which would have taken a similar amount of time. The five hours flying time would add up to over $250,000, not including the additional security costs.

It led to speculation that the move by Pence was simply an expensive publicity stunt, especially as he was under instructions from the US president, Donald Trump, to leave the game if players took to their knees.

In what appeared to be a gaffe, it emerged that the image Pence had tweeted with his wife Karen at the game had been in fact from 2014.

Topher Spiro from the Centre for American Progress tweeted: "Pence spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer money and faked a photo on a stunt to deliberately stoke divisions among Americans."

Co-founder of the Democratic Coalition, Scott Dworkin, tweeted: "How much aid could've gone to hurricane victims instead of Pence going to a football game that no one wanted him at in the first place?"

NFL players across the country have been taking the action which was sparked by Colin Kaepernick who sat down for the anthem before a game in August 2016.

The issue has divided the US especially after Donald Trump, urged fans to boycott NFL games in which players knelt, describing any protesting player as a "son of a bitch".