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Aggressive Driving

Pence Commits Vehicular Home-Cide

Old time bikes at Mackinac Island

Vice President Pence made a "Veep"-sized blunder on Saturday by barreling his motorcade across a northern Michigan island that has historically outlawed cars — appalling, well, pretty much everyone.

Pence arrived on Mackinac Island via chopper and took an eight-car motorcade to the hotel where he gave the keynote address at a biennial conference for Michigan Republicans.

But the VP wasn't supposed to be driving through the island at all. The bucolic Lake Huron isle has prohibited motorized vehicles, with the rare exceptions of emergency vehicles and snowmobiles, since 1898. Nearly everyone gets around the 4.35-square-mile town by walking, cycling, or taking a horse-drawn carriage — as President Gerald Ford did when he and First Lady Betsy Ford visited the region in 1976, and as presidents George H.W. Bush, Harry Truman, Bill Clinton, and John F. Kennedy did before or after they were in office.

The Pence motorcade was almost certainly Mackinac Island's first, according to Michigan natives. Lobbyist and former Crain's Detroit Business publisher Ron Fournier called his decision "sacrilege," and former Michigan state Senate candidate Julia Pulver labeled the move a "huge transgression."

"Plenty of actual presidents have visited sans cars," Pulver tweeted. "It’s literally an island, you can very easily control who’s there for this event. No excuses. This didn’t have to happen, but it did, because they could."

And Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib tweeted the video of Pence's motorcade whipping up dust as pedestrians watched helplessly on the side of the road made her "stomach turn."

As infuriating as Pence's carmageddon jaunt is, it's only the third-worst vehicle-related disaster the Trump administration generated this year. There was President Trump's dumbfounded plan to roll Army tanks along Washington D.C. streets for his Independence Day celebration, and his punitive decision last week to revoke California's ability to set its own emissions standards for new vehicles.

Pence's show of force came as part of his keynote address to the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference. He told the local GOP that he visited Mackinac often when he was growing up and well into adulthood when he took his wife Karen there while she was seven months pregnant. So it's not as if he didn't know any better than to bring a car. But all he took away from his prior experiences with peaceful, anxiety-free, slow-speed movement on the island is its famous fudge.

“She told me if you don’t come back with fudge don’t bother getting on the plane,” Pence said, the Detroit Free Press reported.

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