On an Island of No Cars, Pence Brought His Motorcade

Michigan's Mackinac Island has banned vehicles since 1898
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2019 9:50 AM CDT
On an Island of No Cars, Pence Brought His Motorcade
In a photo from Wednesday, May 6, 2015 in Mackinac Island Mich., horses are led to their stables after arriving on the island by ferry. Horses do the heavy lifting on the island, hauling people and cargo across the car-free tourist destination in northern Michigan.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

(Newser) – Motorized vehicles have been banned on Michigan's Mackinac Island for 121 years—but you wouldn't know it by the eight-vehicle motorcade that carried Vice President Mike Pence to a Republican leadership conference at the Grand Hotel on Saturday. That naturally set off a flurry of wagging fingers—and comparisons to former President Ford, who visited the island while in office in 1975 and roughed it in a horse-drawn carriage—as well as shrugs about changing times and security concerns, reports the Detroit Free Press. It should be noted that the ban isn't total: Snowmobiles in the winter, emergency vehicles, and service vehicles are all permitted. But an archive search shows a UPS driver making deliveries via horse and carriage.

"It's not an issue at all," says one tourist out for a bike ride on the bucolic island. The president and vice president, he said, "can't walk from the airport" and a "lot of things have changed" since Ford's day. Others saw red and an insult to tradition. "Sacrilege," tweeted one Detroit native who covered the White House under several presidents. "No security expert would claim it's necessary." Even Greta Van Susteren piled on: "A motorcade on Mackinac Island????????!!!!!!" she tweeted. "How can that be? Google Mackinac Island..." (Read more Mike Pence stories.)

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