Local residents were horrified when the Vice President of the United States broke a 60-year ban on Mackinac Island in Michigan. For over 60 years, motorized vehicles have been outright banned on the island.
In fact, in 1975, when President Ford visited, he was conveyed around by horse-drawn carriage. Mike Pence, however, broke this rule.
The Trump administration is known for nothing if not disregarding norms and second-guessing what they truly “can” and “can’t” do. There have been numerous examples of this in the past three years. Most recently was Mike Pence’s decision to roll an eight-car motorcade across Mackinac Island, an island where motorized vehicles are not allowed.
Pence was speaking at the Michigan Republican Party’s leadership conference, which in and of itself was unusual. This marked the first time a sitting US Vice President has addressed the leadership conference. Locals were understandably baffled and outraged at the flagrant disregard for their local ordnance.
Regarding the incident, several Michigan locals took to Twitter to tell Pence what for. “Even President Gerald Ford rode in a horse-drawn carriage. Is there no limit to the crass elitist raised middle finger to America?” tweeted one local.
Former Associated Press Washington bureau chief Ron Fournier described the situation as “obscene.” He went on to tweet “Sacrilege,” and assured that “no security expert would claim it’s necessary”. This came in response to some vague explanation of how the vice president was concerned that there might be a security risk if he didn’t ride in a motorcade.
Mackinac Island sits on Lake Huron, between Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas. The island has a fascinating history and was the site of a Revolutionary War battle. Typically, locals on the island get around by walking or cycling. It’s exceedingly uncommon to see any vehicles on the island at all, so having eight massive, black SUVs was a shocking sight for locals.
There are a few exceptions to the motorized vehicle ban on Mackinac Island. For instance, when the snowfall is particularly heavy, locals are able to use snowmobiles to get around. Of course, at any time of year, emergency vehicles pass through the region as normal.