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LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WJW) — Vice President Mike Pence met with a small group of police officers at the Youngstown Police Department on Thursday to offer his support.

“We can support law enforcement, we can support our African American community, we can come together around better public safety,” he said.

VP Pence spoke with FOX 8 during a one-on-one interview afterwards. He remarked on the rioting, like what happened in Cleveland following the death of George Floyd.

“There’s no excuse for what happened on the street ,but there’s also no excuse for the violence and the rioting that ensued and the attacks on law enforcement officers that have been conducted by people that have disrupted what would otherwise be peaceful protests,” said Pence.

He said he opposes the defunding of police, which is what some protesters are calling for.

“In Cleveland or in all the major cities across this country, we think we have a real opportunity to improve public safety. The president and I want to work with members of Congress to provide new resources for training in the use of force,” he explained.

And while coronavirus cases are on the rise as Ohio reopens, Pence, who heads the White House COVID-19 Task Force, defended the nationwide shut down against criticism that Governor DeWine and the White House overreacted.

“We know it not only slowed the spread, but it flattened the curve,” said Pence.

The vice president was visiting Ohio to help reveal the nation’s first electric pickup truck at Lordstown Motors.

He takes an optimistic view of the state’s economy, which he is convinced will soon rebound from the high unemployment and other consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The last jobs report we got showed that literally in the first few weeks of opening the economy back up, American businesses created nearly three million jobs. We saw the unemployment rate drop from 14 percent to 13 percent and as of this morning, we have seen once again a consistent decline in initial claims for unemployment. That’s all encouraging news, but the president and I are committed to the policies that will bring this economy all the way back,” he told FOX 8.