Vice President Pence’s arrival in Michigan with an eight-vehicle motorcade to attend the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference over the weekend ruffled some feathers on an island where cars are generally banned, the Detroit Press reported.
The conference took place on the state’s Mackinac Island, a city with a population of around 500 people, according to the 2010 census, that is known for its ban on vehicles. The ban first took effect in the late 19th century, Time magazine reported.
According to the Detroit Press, the vice president’s motorcade is the first ever to arrive in the community, where residents generally commute by bike or snowmobile in colder weather. However, residents can be granted a temporary vehicle permit in certain circumstances.
It has long been custom for the president and vice president to travel with several armored vehicles by motorcade as a security measure.
However, the sight of the vice president’s motorcade on Mackinac Island prompted some criticism from local Democratic leaders.
Former state Senate candidate Julia Pulver (D) tweeted a video of the vice president’s motorcade and wrote, “For those not from MI, you should understand what a huge transgression this is.”
“Our #MackinacIsland has been a car free haven forever, a piece of history frozen in time. Tell anyone from MI @VP just drove not 1 but 8 CARS on this island & watch their blood boil,” she continued.
For those not from MI, you should understand what a huge transgression this is.
Our #MackinacIsland has been a car free haven forever, a piece of history frozen in time. Tell anyone from MI @VP just drove not 1 but 8 CARS on this island & watch their blood boil. #PureMichigan https://t.co/cjfXcygdzO
— Julia Pulver, RN (@VotePulver) September 22, 2019
Mark Brewer, who previously chaired the Michigan Democratic Party, shared a similar sentiment in a tweet earlier Saturday, writing, “Ridiculous, unnecessary Mackinac Island @VP Pence motorcade which is disrespectful of Mackinac traditions.”
— Mark Brewer (@MarkBrewerDems) September 21, 2019
Rep. Rashida Tlaib called the vice president’s motorcade “disgusting.”
Disgusting. I am in such disbelief that this was allowed to happen. This Administration doesn’t care about the law (you know, the U.S. Constitution), so it shouldn’t surprise me so much that they don’t care about our history or traditions. #MackinacIsland https://t.co/jvyMBCakrG
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) September 22, 2019
Other social media users also commented on the motorcade, including former Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren.
A motorcade on Mackinac Island????????!!!!!! How can that be? Google Mackinac Island… https://t.co/ix9v0BYU4K
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) September 21, 2019
For those unfamiliar with Mackinac Island, this is what it looks like every day of the year. No cars allowed. pic.twitter.com/lc0xLGEecn
— Michelle K Stenzel (@MichelleStenzel) September 21, 2019
What the holy what? You can walk the perimeter of Mackinac Island in like two hours without breaking a sweat. It’s 4.53 square miles. Eight miles of coastline. Cars are banned for a reason. https://t.co/ISmgFBYBpO
— Amber Hunt (@ReporterAmber) September 22, 2019
As a Michigan native, I cannot express to you what an insult the sight of anyone in a car on Mackinac Island is to us. It’s like putting your dirty shoes on someone’s lovely dining room table during dinner. https://t.co/R9rHdmaQ1r
— joanna schroeder (@iproposethis) September 22, 2019
However, some noted that the motorcade was appropriate given security concerns.
Being from Michigan, the idea of cars on Mackinac Island makes me wince. But, I do recognize security issues like this may require them. Is there another way? Thoughts? https://t.co/tgAFI0VAuM
— Alicia Rancilio (@aliciar) September 22, 2019