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VP in-town pool report #2
Matthew Nussbaum • POLITICO
May 29, 2017: 09:57 AM


VP Pence, wearing khaki pants and a short-sleeved black collared shirt, exited the residence at around a quarter after 9. He greeted riders and Project Hero officials at the base of the porch steps. He was joined by Second Lady Karen Pence and VA Sect. David Shulkin. Pence shook hands and posed for at least one selfie. Pool was about 90 feet away and could not make out any of the conversation.

The riders, decked out in blue Project Hero jerseys, gathered in the driveway in front of a small podium shortly after. Pence stepped to the podium at 9:25 and was greeted with a brief cheer. The riders, cell phones raised, gathered around and Pence waded into the crowd, shaking hands and posing for pictures.

There were approx. 70-80 riders present per your pooler's rough and unscientific count.

John Wordin, president of Project Hero, kicked off the ceremony at 9:29 a.m. He noted it was the fourth year in a row that the ride has started at the VP's residence.

Wordin noted the scourge of suicide among the veterans' community and praised Shulkin for his work partnering with Project Hero to address the issue.

Wordin introduced Cheri Dilego, a clinician at the Huntington, W.Va. VA medical center. She introduced Shulkin.

He opened by thanking the Pences for opening their home for the event.

"If it's for veterans, they're going to be there for us," Shulkin said. "Both he and Karen are passionate and relentless when it comes to veterans' issues."

Shulkin introduced Pence, who took the stage at 9:36 a.m. Pence opened by thanking Shulkin and calling for another round of applause for the VA Secretary.

"We are incredibly honored to host project hero back at the home of the Vice President," Pence said. "This is a day we remember those who served and did not come home. ... To be able to welcome you here on this most hallowed of days is profoundly humbling to Karen and I."

He thanked the assembled group for their service, and thanked Project Hero for its efforts.

"We'll be joining the president in just a few moments at Arlington National Cemetery," Pence said. He acknowledged the group before him would be engaged in a more "energetic" activity, and said he and Karen -- cyclists themselves -- were slightly jealous.

He went on to praise Trump and his "extraordinary trip" in Europe, noting Trump's visit to troops in Italy.

Pence praised the work of Project Hero to address "unseen wounds" and spoke about the prevalence of PTSD.

He touted Trump's EO on veterans' health care.

"We wish you Godspeed, safe travels all the way to Virginia Beach and for Project Hero and all of those that it helps all the way to a full recovery in an America that cherishes all those who serve," Pence said. He closed his remarks at 9:43 a.m.

Karen Pence then delivered a brief prayer, after which she encouraged riders to help themselves to the oranges and bananas that had been put out.

VP and Karen Pence and Sect. Shulkin were then each presented with Project Hero jerseys, which they held aloft.

"That'll give me a year to fit into it," Pence joked.

The group then gathered for a photo, with VP Pence, Karen and Shulkin front and center.

Pence then called for one more photo with the "Trump thumb." He held out a thumbs up and, thumbs aloft, the group posed for another round of photos.

Pence continued to work his way through the crowd, posing for pictures and shaking hands.

With a comment about needing to go get changed for the next event and a "have fun" caught on the hot mic, Pence re-entered the residence at 9:53 a.m.

The bikers set off shortly after.

And that's all for your VP pool today.



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