At this point in 2019, the Trump administration should be used to making headlines, but this time all of the attention is being put on Vice President Mike Pence for a controversial move he made on Saturday, Sept. 21. Normally, the vice president arriving somewhere in a security motorcade would be business as usual, but when that "somewhere" is an area that's banned cars for a century, the optics suddenly become a little different. Judging by these tweets about Mike Pence's motorcade on Mackinac Island, a lot of people aren't pleased right now. Why? Well, many Twitter users are calling Pence's use of cars on the island disrespectful to tradition.
On Saturday, Sept. 21, Vice President Mike Pence visited Mackinac Island, off the Michigan coast of Lake Huron, for a visit to Michigan Republican Party’s biennial leadership conference, per The New York Times. Mackinac Island advertises itself as a vacation spot for Michigan locals and visiting guests for its beautiful lakes, hiking trails, and state history. However, the biggest draw to the island are the quiet surroundings, especially since motor vehicles have been banned on the island since 1898. However, it looks like Pence didn't quite get the memo. While arriving on Mackinac Island on Sept. 21, the vice president brought an eight-car motorcade to transport him from the Mackinac Island Airport to the Republican conference at the Grand Hotel, just about a mile away from the airport, per the Times. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on Pence's choice to use a motorcade on Mackinac Island, but did not hear back in time for publication.
Pence's visit marks the first motorcade Mackinac Island has ever seen, and clearly it isn't sitting well with many people on Twitter. According to The Detroit Free Press, most Mackinac Island visitors travel around the area either on foot or by bike. The island itself is less than four square miles and only 500 people live there year-round, according to the island's website.
Once the video of Pence's motorcade surfaced online, Twitter users immediately started sharing their commentary. Seeing as this is a huge break from tradition, some called Pence's move "disrespectful" to the island's history.
While presidential visits to Mackinac island aren't necessarily common, they have happened in the past, and they haven't used cars. In 1975, President Gerald Ford visited Mackinac Island along with first lady Betty Ford, per The Detroit Free Press. They traveled across the island by a horse and carriage buggy. Ford is the only sitting president to ever visit Mackinac Island. However, Oakland Press reporter Mark Cavitt notes that other familiar faces such as President Bill Clinton, President Harry Truman, and President John F. Kennedy have also visited the island, and didn't use motor vehicles while traveling.
According to Mackinac Island's website, motor vehicles were banned from the area back in the 19th century in an effort to preserve the environment and historical sights. As an alternative, carriages and taxis are available for visitors to use. Over 80% of Mackinac Island is State Park property, and most of the area is still in natural condition. The island is also filled with history, being home to Fort Mackinac, a site that was founded during the American Revolution, as well as a Native American Cultural History trail, which spotlights Native Americans' influence on Michigan's Great Lakes.
Another day, another controversy from the Trump administration. Even if Pence might not have meant any disrespect by his motorcade on Mackinac Island, it looks like Michigan locals are definitely not happy. Well, let's hope he at least enjoyed the scenery.