Let’s set politics aside for a moment, and consider what a show of disrespect our country’s vice president and his security detail showed one of Pure Michigan’s most treasured spots.
Vice President Mike Pence and his team traveled in an unprecedented motorcade from Mackinac Island’s tiny airport to the Grand Hotel last weekend. By doing so, Pence thumbed his nose at the island’s tradition of not permitting motor vehicles.
We liken it to the disrespect one would show by stepping into a Japanese house and refusing to remove his muddy boots.
So, a horse-drawn carriage ride isn’t good enough for Pence? It was for President Gerald Ford during an island visit in 1975, and several other presidents before him.
The Secret Service will say it is necessary in 2019 because security has to be tighter. While times have certainly changed, we’re still talking about a short jaunt down a road on little Mackinac Island in northern Michigan. We think a Secret Service team can manage adequate protection for that without the need for a squad of unlawful vehicles.
The island’s prohibition of motor vehicles dates back to 1898, when there were very few such contraptions in the entire country. Today, snowmobiles and vital emergency vehicles and service trucks are the only motorized transportation allowed on Mackinac Island.
The vice president and former Indiana governor was on the island to deliver Saturday’s keynote address at the Republican Leadership Conference, in which he talked about the president’s record and the U.S. Senate candidacy of John James, a Detroit-area businessman.
That political trip cost taxpayers – you and me – a hefty sum to transport those eight government vehicles via Shepler’s Ferry to the island for the ill-advised 1-mile ride.
Shepler’s Ferry has suffered some backlash for its role in all of this. The ferry service’s owner called it “an honor” to transport the vice president’s motorcade to the island, according to a report in The Detroit News.
“We follow island policy, we respect local government and tradition, and we most definitely have the same passion for Mackinac Island as our guests,” Shepler’s Ferry tweeted Monday.
OK, so it was a business decision.
To be fair, Pence’s entourage wasn’t the only one to have motor vehicles on the island last weekend. The ferry service transported several others, mostly TV station remote vans, to the island and back.
But they’re not running for re-election next year.
The Trump ticket (presumably with Pence on it) has made no bones about needing Michigan’s vote next November. Do they not know that this Mackinac Island faux pas can’t possibly help their cause?
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