MANCHESTER — President Donald Trump told reporters Friday that Vice President Mike Pence’s abrupt cancellation of a trip to New Hampshire was due to an undisclosed “interesting problem” here, unrelated to White House activities in Washington that day.
Trump was asked why Air Force Two with Pence on board last Tuesday never left a Washington airport to come for a government business meeting on the opioid crisis in Salem.
“There was a very interesting problem that they had in New Hampshire that I can’t tell you about,” Trump said.
“It had nothing to do with the White House.”
Trump was asked what kind of problem there was but he declined to elaborate further.
“There was a problem up there. I won’t go into it, what it was, but you’ll see in about two weeks,” Trump said.
Hours after Pence’s visit was canceled, Chief of Staff Marc Short told reporters the reason Trump told Pence he should not go was a New Hampshire-specific issue that would become clear in the coming weeks.
The suggestion was it could be revealed in a court setting, officials said.
Pence was due to meet Tuesday with former patients at the Granite Recovery Center headquarters in Manchester, and to speak about the state’s opioid crisis. Yet the trip was scrapped as Air Force Two was about to depart.
“Something came up that required the @VP to remain in Washington, DC,” tweeted Alyssa Farah, the vice president’s press secretary. “It’s no cause for alarm. He looks forward to rescheduling the trip to New Hampshire very soon.”
Pence had been on the plane, but it didn’t take off from Washington, officials said.
Last Tuesday, officials had said Pence’s cancellation was due to a “security” concern, but Pence was never in any danger.
Some White House reporters have speculated that Trump could be subject to increasing threats as it was notable that the President gave his much-anticipated July Fourth address in front of the Lincoln Memorial in front of a wall of bulletproof glass.
It was chalked up to an eerie coincidence last Tuesday when a short time after the Pence announcement, the Pease Air National Guard Base was placed on lockdown for just over an hour after reports of gunshots being heard.
The coincidence was that the Pease airstrip was considered by law enforcement officials to be the backup location for Pence to land on Tuesday if for some reason they couldn’t use the intended arrival stop, a private commercial airstrip at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.
Officials with the 157th Air Refueling Wing reported there were multiple reports of noises sounding like gunfire inside and outside Building 100 on the base around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Base security officers and local law enforcement responded to the scene, as well as state police. This scene was officially cleared just after 12:35 p.m.
Newington Police Chief Michael Bilodeau said his department interviewed all of the witnesses involved and that he was confident there was no danger to members of the public or the base community. “There was no active shooter,” Bilodeau said. “I’m not sure what the sounds were, but there is a lot of construction going on at the base right now.”