Pence’s plane diverted for ‘emergency’
US Vice President Mike Pence has cancelled an event as his plane was turned around due to an "emergency" at the White House.
Mr Pence was en route to speak with patients at the Granite Recovery Center headquarters in Manchester, New Hampshire, about the state's opioid crisis, when Air Force 2 was abruptly diverted on Tuesday.
He was scheduled to land at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport around 11:30am.
A spokesman for the vice president originally said the aircraft was turned around due to an "emergency," but event organisers later described it as a "diversion" although didn't specify the cause. White House officials also downplayed the incident.
"Something came up that required the @VP to remain in Washington, DC," Mr Pence's Press Secretary Alyssa Farah tweeted.
"It's no cause for alarm.
"He looks forward to rescheduling the trip to New Hampshire very soon."
The Vice President just cancelled his event in New Hampshire today saying there is an emergency and he is being called back to the White House. #Developing— Edward Lawrence (@NewsEdward) July 2, 2019
Crowd leaving the Granite Recovery Center in Salem, NH where @VP was supposed to participate in a round table and speak to audience of 200. Just told Air Force 2 was turned around due to an emergency and the Vice President is now headed back to DC. pic.twitter.com/Mmjt5JpPdS— Alison King NBC10 Boston (@AlisonNBCBoston) July 2, 2019
Massachusetts GOP committeeman Tom Mountain was in the room where the Vice President was to appear.
He said a Secret Service official told those attending that Mr Trump had ordered Mr Pence back to Washington just before his flight was about to land.
"The president called Air Force Two back to Washington. It was about to land and they had to call them back to Washington. I don't recall that they used the word 'emergency 'or 'crisis', " he said.
"Our own take on this is that it's not good. I've been to many such events in New Hampshire and around the area. This is the first time I've been to an event where either the president or vice president's plane has been called back when they're literally about to land, and they were about to land."
Earlier in the day, democratic presidential contenders Joe Biden and Cory Booker both issued statements about Mr Pence's scheduled New Hampshire visit.
Mr Biden slammed Mr Pence and President Donald Trump for "working to rip away health care and substance misuse treatment services" from New Hampshire residents and referenced Mr Trump's comment from the 2016 election about the state being a "drug-infested den".
Mr Booker, meanwhile, criticised Mr Pence and Mr Trump for "blaming immigrants" for the opioid epidemic instead of the pharmaceutical companies he said should be held responsible.
More to come.