Mike Pence cancels a trip to New Hampshire, and a mystery ensues

Within the Trump administration, Vice President Mike Pence is known as a port of calm and stability amid the churn of chaos. So Tuesday, when he abruptly abandoned a planned trip to New Hampshire after he had already boarded Air Force Two at Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland, it raised immediate questions.

Mike Pence cancels a trip to New Hampshire, and a mystery ensues

It is rare that something causes a vice president to abandon a publicized trip once aboard a plane. Pence’s aides said that there was no national security emergency or personal health issue that prompted the change. They said that he had boarded the plane but that it never took off. They would not say much else.

“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’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, wrote on Twitter.

With little information to go on, theories abounded on Twitter. Pence might have been facing a national security emergency and been pulled back, people speculated. Or maybe there was a political drama taking place, with Trump summoning his second in command.

An hour later, Farah posted again.

“The @VP never left Washington, DC. There was no ‘emergency callback.’ Something came up that required the VP to stay in DC. We’ll reschedule NH shortly,” she tweeted.

Later, officials helped rule out possibilities, without saying what had taken place.

“It’s not a national security issue,” Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, told reporters at the White House.

It also was not a “personal” or a family issue, he said.

Short had been scheduled to travel with Pence to New Hampshire, where the vice president was to visit with patients at a drug-treatment center in Salem and deliver remarks on the opioid crisis. He was able to speak to what had taken place, but that did not mean he would, at least for now.

“When would people know what happened?” reporters asked. “Weeks from now,” Short said.

Multiple people familiar with what happened offered at least a partial explanation. They said it was related to the place Pence was scheduled to visit, the Granite Recovery Center, but they did not offer any details.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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