Mike Pence Called Back to White House, NH Visit Canceled

A spokesperson for the vice president originally said Air Force 2 was turned around due to an "emergency," but the organizers of the event are now characterizing it as a "diversion"

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What to Know

  • Vice President Mike Pence's New Hampshire visit on Tuesday was canceled around the time he was scheduled to land in Manchester.
  • A spokesperson originally said that Air Force 2 was turned around due to an "emergency," but it now being described as a "diversion."
  • Pence had been scheduled to tour a drug and alcohol treatment center in Salem and speak about the state's opioid crisis.

Vice President Mike Pence's New Hampshire event on Tuesday has been abruptly canceled as he was called back to the White House.

Pence had been scheduled to land at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport at 11:45 a.m., which is right around the time the news broke that his event had been called off.

"I do have some bad news at this point," Randy Gentry, a representative of the vice president's office, announced on stage in Salem about 11:30 a.m. "Air Force 2 was heading this way. There's been an emergency call back. The Vice President was asked to return to Washington so at this time we're going to cancel today's event. It doesn't mean we aren't going to come back, but we do have a situation where the vice president was recalled back to Washington."

A woman helping with the media at the New Hampshire event later clarified that it was a "diversion" and not an "emergency."

A senior White House official said Pence never left Washington, and Air Mobility Command said Pence's plane never took off.

"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," Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said on Twitter.

President Donald Trump is fine and he and Pence are both at the White House, a source close to Pence told NBC News White House Correspondent Kelly O'Donnell.

No medical issue caused the cancellation of Pence's New Hampshire event, O'Donnell was told.

Pence was not called back to the White House for national security or health reasons, a senior White House official told reporters.

No information explaining what did cause Pence to return to Washington was immediately available.

Pence's one-day trip was to include a meeting with alumni and former patients at the Granite Recovery Center headquarters in Salem. Afterward, he was scheduled to speak about New Hampshire's opioid crisis. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu was scheduled to join Pence at the event.

He had originally been scheduled to return to Washington on Tuesday night.

Democratic presidential contenders Joe Biden and Cory Booker both issued statements earlier Tuesday about Pence's scheduled New Hampshire visit.

Biden ripped Pence and President Donald Trump for "working to rip away health care and substance misuse treatment services" from New Hampshire residents and referenced Trump's comment from the 2016 election about the state being a "drug-infested den."

Booker, meanwhile, criticized Pence and Trump for "blaming immigrants" for the opioid epidemic instead of the pharmaceutical companies he said should be held responsible.

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