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Vice President Mike Pence choppered onto a historic Michigan island that has always banned autos in favor of bicycles and horses and was shuttled to a campaign speech in a parade of eight official cars.
Tweeted one Michigander of the grand, gasoline-powered arrival at Mackinac Island’s famous Grand Hotel this weekend:
‘For those not from MI, you should understand what a huge transgression this is.’
Most tourists reach the island by ferry, although small aircraft do come in and out, and the island does house a few emergency vehicles at all times. Secret Service for President Gerald Ford had a car waiting in case of an emergency when he and first lady Betty Ford visited in 1975, but the couple used the common mode of getting around during their visit, a horse-drawn carriage.
Pence was on the island to speak to the Michigan Republican Leadership Conference and had alerted officials there to his transportation plans, according to reports.
Michigan was a key state in the 2016 presidential election and is considered a major target for 2020. Pence has visited Michigan 10 times since 2017, the Detroit Free Press said. According to the Michigan Republican Party, Pence is the first sitting vice president to speak at the biennial conference, which has been hosted on the island — home to well-heeled summer people, retirees and fudge-seeking, tandem bike-riding tourists — for more than 60 years.
Pence told the conference that he had been a periodic visitor to Mackinac — the backdrop for the cult classic Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour romance “Somewhere in Time” and a 1947 Esther Williams and Jimmy Durante musical — as a child and an adult.
Tourists can be seen waving to the Pence motorcade in this tweeted video from the Free Press’s Paul Egan.
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Detroit, a member of the “Squad” of progressive female Democrats whom President Donald Trump has attacked, tweeted a response to the video: “Banned for a century people, and here comes the Trump Administration trampling all over it, like they do the U.S. Constitution. This video of the cars driving on our beautiful #MackinacIsland makes my stomach turn.”
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