As news of the letter spread on social media Monday night, some supporters of Trump complained the invitation was disingenuous.
In an open letter posted on the online blogging platform Medium, Pence’s neighbors — part of a coalition that describes itself as opposed to the “unacceptable practices and policies in the Trump administration” — implored the vice president-elect to “help bring an end to this madness through the simple act of breaking bread.” There was no immediate comment from Pence or a spokesman.
During the transition period, Pence and his family have rented a temporary home in a heavily Democratic area not far from Comet Ping Pong, a popular dining spot for families with children. The restaurant became caught up in a bizarre conspiracy theory after fake news reports claimed the pizzeria was operating a child sex slave ring linked to Hillary Clinton.
Earlier this month, that fake story led to the firing of real bullets, when a gunman showed up at Comet Ping Pong, saying he had come to “self-investigate” the claims, and fired shots inside, terrifying the entire neighborhood. No one was injured, and the police arrested Edgar M. Welch of Salisbury, North Carolina, who remains in jail. The episode drew new attention to the Twitter habits of Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Trump’s pick for national security adviser, who has used social media to spread fake news stories.
The neighbors asked Pence to “help us quell the damaging impact” of such tales.
“Now, your neighbors are hurting,” the coalition, calling itself NOPE — Neighbors Organizing for Power and Equality — wrote in the letter. “Parents and grandparents are left struggling to explain to our traumatized children why a man would fire a gun in a family gathering place in the heart of the community.”
As news of the letter spread on social media Monday night, some supporters of Trump complained the invitation was disingenuous. But Leslie Harris, a member of the coalition, who helped draft the letter, called the offer genuine.
Pence, the governor of Indiana and a former member of the House of Representatives, is far more a creature of Washington than Trump, who has promised to come to the city and “drain the swamp.” Harris suggested the neighbors believe they can find more common ground with the vice president-elect than with Trump.
“Whatever Mike Pence’s political differences are with us,” she said, “I think he’s the only grown-up in the room.”