Vice President Mike Pence abruptly canceled his trip to a drug treatment center in New Hampshire earlier this month to avoid possibly meeting with an alleged drug dealer, according to a Politico report on Monday.
Pence was slated to travel to Manchester, New Hampshire, on July 2 to talk with several people at the Granite Recovery Center. One of the people he was likely to encounter was Jeff Hatch, a former New York Giants player and an employee at the center who was under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Hatch was suspected of transporting more than $100,000 worth of fentanyl from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, according to Politico. A law enforcement official told the news outlet that Hatch agreed to flip on bigger dealers and, court records show, was charged with a single relatively minor count. He pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday and could face up to four years in prison, per Politico.
Pence canceled his trip upon learning of the investigation into Hatch, Politico reported, citing a law enforcement official with knowledge of the incident.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The vice president had already boarded Air Force Two when his trip was suddenly called off, giving rise to much questioning and speculation.
“Something came up that required the @VP to remain in Washington, DC. It’s no cause for alarm,” Pence’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, wrote on Twitter. “He looks forward to rescheduling the trip to New Hampshire very soon.”
Farah noted in a subsequent tweet that there was no “emergency callback,” but “something came up” that prevented Pence from leaving.
Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, later told reporters at the White House that the trip’s cancellation was “not a national security issue” nor a “personal” or family matter. He said Pence’s office would say more about the incident in a few weeks.
Asked by CBS’s Major Garrett on Sunday what lead him to scratch that trip, Pence did note that it had something to do with the situation in New Hampshire but declined to elaborate.
“It was a circumstance on the ground in New Hampshire that made our ― our trip there no longer appropriate,” the vice president said.