Update 4: Roughly six hours have passed since the first reports emerged that Vice President Mike Pence was forced to cancel an event in New Hampshire on Tuesday to attend to an unspecified
emergency "situation" in Washington. At first, officials said Pence had landed in New Hampshire, then that Air Force 2 was forced to turn around mid-flight. Then, it finally emerged that he had never actually left Washington.
Naked speculation about the circumstances surrounding the cancellation has flourished in the absence of any kind of explanation from the White House. Was it a presidential health-related emergency? Did Iran carry out an underground nuclear test?
Whatever the reason, it could be a while before the public receives an explanation, according to Marc Short, Pence's chief of staff:
Press: Can you tell us what what happened? Why cancel New Hampshire trip?— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) July 2, 2019
Marc Short, who was with Pence when VP was called back to WH: “There will be more later.”
Press: When later?
Marc Short: "Weeks from now.”@asebenius https://t.co/tKFbBCJnNJ
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It's still unclear what Pence and the EU Security Council are doing.
Now, officials are clarifying that Air Force Two never actually left Washington.
Pence’s office confirms Air Force Two never actually left Washington. He was scheduled to attend an event on opioids in New Hampshire today. Officials aren’t saying why it was canceled, but said it’s not cause for concern. https://t.co/2BgYMoyJEF— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) July 2, 2019
Meanwhile, the National Guard has confirmed that gunshots are being investigated at the Pease Air National Guard base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It's unlikely that has anything to do with Pence, but it's another strange coincidence.
One last thing: US officials are claiming that Pence's decision to cancel his trip has nothing to do with Putin's cancelled meeting. Here's a tweet from Pence's spokeswoman.
Something came up that required the @VP to remain in Washington, DC. It’s no cause for alarm. He looks forward to rescheduling the trip to New Hampshire very soon.— Alyssa Farah (@VPPressSec) July 2, 2019
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Update 2: It could be just a coincidence, but the timing is certainly curious. Not long after Pence turned around to head back to Washington Tuesday morning for an unspecified non-emergency, Russian press reported that Vladimir Putin has abruptly pulled out of a scheduled event to hold a meeting with his defense minister.
Meanwhile, the European Commission security council has also been convened for a meeting. There's speculation that it could be related to Iran, or Syria, or that Russian submarine that caught fire [Note: these 'unconfirmed' reports have been exposed as a hoax].
Or perhaps we're closer to the brink of WWIII than most Americans realize? An aide to the VP said simply that 'something came up', and another reporter noted that officials seemed to be going out of their way to say that the meeting has 'nothing to do' with Trump or his health. Another reporter said the incident has nothing to do with national security.
One Twitter wit seized the opportunity to make light of the situation.
"Mike Pence called to the White House for an unspecified emergency, which sources say might be linked to the Fed backtracking on a July rate cut"— StockCats (@StockCats) July 2, 2019
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Update: The Office of the VP has clarified that Pence wasn't recalled to Washington for an "emergency", but to deal with an undisclosed "situation."
Though the language is less ominous, but only slightly.
A crowd of roughly 200 had shown up to the Granite Recovery Center in Salem, NH to hear Pence speak about the opioid crisis, but they are now leaving now that the event has been cancelled.
Another reporter said she was told by unnamed officials that the reason for the Pence recall is "no cause for alarm."
I am told that @VP Pence's New Hampshire opiod event was cancelled because something came up and he had to be back at the White House. Official says it is not a cause for alarm.— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) July 2, 2019
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Vice President Mike Pence has been called back to the White House on Tuesday because of an undisclosed "emergency," NBC 10 Boston reports.
Pence had been scheduled to land in Manchester around 11:25 am, but instead, just before he was due to land, news broke that his event had been cancelled and that he would be heading back to Washington instead of making an appearance in New Hampshire to discuss the opioid crisis.
Happening Today:— Stephanie Myers (@_StephanieMyers) July 2, 2019
- @VP Mike Pence will travel to New Hampshire to meet with former patients and alumni at the Granite Recovery Center HQ before delivering remarks about the opioid crisis
- Senator Bernie Sanders to reveal Q2 fundraising at 10am EST #2020Election @OANN
Air Force 2 was reportedly diverted due to the emergency. No further information was immediately available.
Whatever the emergency, it can't be good.