Vice President Pence — who turns 58 today — touched down at JBA at 8:07 a.m. Pence, clad in a navy blue suit, buttoned, and lighter blue tie, flashed a quick thumbs up (unclear at who) before boarding Air Force Two for the flight down to Houston.
He was joined on the plane by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, as well as Texas Representatives Brian Babin and Lamar Smith.
Before he arrived, Rebeccah Propp — the VP's deputy comms director — went through the cabin passing out brightly colored party hats (flimsy cardboard, elastic strap under chin), though she kindly told your press pool, "You don't have to wear it."
And after Pence boarded, your pool was escorted to the edge of the middle cabin, which had been decorated by VP staff with "Happy Birthday" balloons and red, white and blue streamers. The VP came back, opening his arms in some combination of faux-surprise and subdued delight, and was greeted by a rather weak rendition of "Happy Birthday."
"What are you all doing?" he asked with a smile. "This is out of control."
Cruz posed for a photo with Pence, and the VP declared, "I feel 58 years young."
There were, alas, no candles, apparently per FAA regulations.
We are now wheels up to Houston.