- By Bruce Lloyd
VP Mike Pence stops by for fuel, handshakes with local VIPs
Gov Eddie Calvo snags the first handshake from Vice President Mike Pence. Photos by Bruce Lloyd
Patience was a real virtue for those who spent Sunday afternoon awaiting the arrival of Vice President Mike Pence at Andersen Air Force Base. Local journalists arrived at the main gate at 1:30 p.m., but the touchdown of Air Force 2 did not happen until after 5 p.m.
For Pence, the stop was nearly the end of a week representing President Trump in Asia, during which he attended throughout Asia and the Pacific. During this Asia-Pacific region trip, he attended official meetings on behalf of President Donald Trump, carrying the flag and assuring various parties of the U.S. commitment to the region and taking a tough rhetorical stance towards China.
It was also a chance to press the flesh with military personnel at Andersen and other bases on his first visit to Guam. Those lucky folks were chosen by lottery and held in a crowd pen awaiting the arrival.
For the local media, sternly warned to stay on risers facing the flight line, the goal was to extract some words from Pence, but that failed.
Outgoing Guam Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo was on hand, as was newly re-elected CNMI Gov. Ralph Torres. Calvo said that he’ll be heading to Washington after Thanksgiving, his final trip in eight years in office. He talked about these issues with Vice President Pence, who he has known since he was governor of Indiana.
“There are things that we need to square away,” Calvo said. “We do believe there are some amounts owed by Centers for Medicare, Medicaid owed to [Guam Memorial] Hospital. We also believe that there are sums owed by the Treasury Department to Guam as well and I had brought this up with the vice president in earlier discussions and I had the chance to tell him we needed to resolve this before I leave office. With the vice president, he was keenly aware of the issues I brought up a couple of months ago with regards to Medicare and the Treasury Department.”
Does the general political chaos in President Trump’s Washington, concern the governor as far as attention to be paid to territorial issues?
“That’s why it’s important. Even a short trip here, stopping over. It was just a reminder. You can’t have a long discussion in a line. I’ve had long discussions with him in the past and with his people, so it’s a matter of following up on it."
Meanwhile, as they watched the vice president interact with the military and dependents, the local dignitaries and the traveling press corps, the Guam media howled for a little attention. As impatient security personnel looked on, they got a vice presidential wave.