The Slatest

Pence Took an Eight-Car Motorcade to a Michigan Island Where Cars Are Banned

Vice President Mike Pence arrives at a naturalization ceremony September 17, 2019 in Washington, D.C.
Vice President Mike Pence arrives at a naturalization ceremony on September 17, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Michigan’s Mackinac Island has a century-old ban on cars. Yet that didn’t stop Vice President Mike Pence from taking an eight-car motorcade to the historic community that generally bans vehicles, with few exceptions. Although residents can get temporary permits for vehicles, there are normally only exemptions for emergency vehicles and snowmobiles in the winter. In contrast, Pence’s vehicles likely marked the first time a motorcade was on the island. That marked quite a change from when President Gerald Ford visited the island in 1975 and traveled by horse-drawn carriage.

Many were quick to take to social media to blast Pence for failing to respect the island’s traditions when he traveled to go speak at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference. Ron Fournier, a former Washington bureau chief for the Associated Press and a Michigan native, characterized the motorcade as “obscene.”

Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan was also flabbergasted by the motorcade. “Disgusting. I am in such disbelief that this was allowed to happen,” the freshman lawmaker tweeted. Julia Pulver, a former candidate for state Senate, called the motorcade “a huge transgression.” The Atlantic’s James Fallows said that taking a motorcade to the island was “an unbelievably coarse thing to do” and he compared it to “walking into a Japanese tatami room with muddy boots, or rolling a Port-a-John into a church, and using it.”