A top police official in Salem, N.H., said Friday that he was unaware of any security threat that would have caused Vice President Pence to abruptly cancel his planned visit there this week, as suggested by administration officials.
Pence was scheduled to speak with patients at an opioid recovery center Tuesday, but just before Air Force Two took off, he backed out of the trip and remained in Washington for reasons that are still undisclosed.
After some initial mixed messaging, administration officials said the trip had been canceled because of a security issue in New Hampshire, without providing any details.
President Trump hinted at that explanation Friday, telling reporters that there was “a very interesting problem that they had in New Hampshire, but I can’t tell you about it.”
“There was a problem up there, and I won’t go into what the problem was, but you’ll see in about a week or two,” Trump said.
That was news to Salem Deputy Police Chief Joel Dolan, who said in an interview that if there had been a concern, local police would have been aware of it.
“We were not aware of any threats to the vice president or the facility,” Dolan said. “We would have known about it. It would have been addressed by us.”
Dolan said he was standing with Secret Service agents at about 11 a.m. when they received word that the vice president was not coming. Dolan said the agents, who conducted a sweep of the facility, seemed surprised, too.
A Pence aide told the New Hampshire crowd that “there’s been an emergency callback,” so the vice president would not be coming. Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said on Twitter on Tuesday that there was no emergency but that “something came up that required the @VP to remain in Washington.”
Administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter said it had to do with a security concern in New Hampshire, but they provided no details. Officials said there was frustration among some in the vice president’s office over how the decision was publicly explained, which led to widespread speculation about what had happened.
“It’s sort of cryptic,” said Dolan, who said he had not been given an update since Tuesday. “We’ll be looking for the information to come out as well.”