U.S. Vice President Makes Brief Stopover In American Samoa

Local reporters barred from event; Pence, wife allegedly don't leave aiport

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, April 24, 2017) – US Vice President Michael Richard "Mike" Pence arrived in American Samoa yesterday, afternoon, for a flying visit, on his way to Honolulu, Hawai’i. During his brief stop, he did not leave the airport, as announced by Congresswoman Aumua Amata in her press release.

Samoa News was told  by one of the soldiers that was a part of the troops Pence reviewed when he disembarked — the VP spoke briefly to military personnel and said a few words inside the VIP lounge to government and military officials that gathered, which included Gov. Lolo M. Moliga.

[PIR editor's note: On April 25, 2017 Samoa Observer reported that 'U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has thanked American service members based in American Samoa, citing "challenging times" for the military in the Asia-Pacific. ... Completing a visit to the region and en route back to the United States, Pence addressed some 200 soldiers during a refueling stop in Pago Pago. He told the troops the Trump administration was seeking a large increase in military funding.']

He did leave the VIP area very briefly — like two minutes — to meet people outside in the crowd, and then returned to the area.

It is not known if an ava ceremony was performed during Pence’s visit, Samoa News was told it did not happen, but he did dedicate the the Veterans Administration outpatient clinic to the memory of the late Congressman Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, who passed away in February at his home in Utah. Samoa News had reported that  the dedication was to be centerpiece of the VP’s visit, according to Amata.

[PIR editor's note: On April 23, 2017 Talamua reported that 'A traditional welcome for Vice President Mike Pence did not take place during his 90 minute stop over at Pago Pago International Airport early this evening. .. The guest house at the airport had been laden with tapa and decorated mats and chairs were placed at the part of the fale reserved for high chiefs from a visiting party. ... But as Pence emerged from Air Force 2 with his wife and several dark suited Secret Service agents, word filtered through that due to security concerns the ava ceremony would be scrapped.']

The Leone and Tafuna High School swing choirs apparently had to go through a TSA screening, to be a part of the entertainment planned for the vice president, but actually did not meet the VP, nor perform for him.

A Facebook post said they were set up in the department lounge and performed there, while the VIPs, Pence included, sat in the Fale Samoa.

The post noted that when Pence and entourage left, the swing choirs performed for friends and families who were sitting in the tents and “cheering us on.”

Editor's note:  Samoa News reporters and photographers were barred from the area.

The Samoa News
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A lot of assuming on your part for someone who wasn't there. He was out for a lot more than the "like two minutes" you reference.

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