AUSTIN, Texas - Air Force 2 emerged from a gray and overcast sky above Austin-Bergstrom International Airport shortly after 12 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
Governor Greg Abbott greeted Vice President Mike Pence along with a small but friendly crowd at the south terminal. The motorcade left the airport for downtown Austin where a political fundraising luncheon was held at the Hotel ZaZa.
"Actually it was much more than a statement trip, it was a demonstration trip, the Vice President announced they raised over a million dollars at this event which is a substantial amount. A significant amount as typically raised an event in Dallas or Midland,” said Texas GOP Chairman James Dickey.
The media was not allowed inside the luncheon. The message from Pence, according to Dickey, was all about building momentum for 2020.
"The message was the President has kept his promises he has delivered on the promises, the United States is succeeding, Texas is succeeding, and absolutely we should all want and fight for 4 more years,” said Dickey.
Before the Vice President flew into Austin, he made an early morning stop in Killeen, but that trip was not about picking up political campaign checks.
At Fort Hood, Pence observed a military exercise and took part in a roundtable discussion, which focused on programs to help military veterans transition into the civilian workforce
"We don't see veterans benefits as entitlements, we see them as earned benefits, a reflection of the gratitude of the American people,” said Pence.
The Vice President later spoke to a gathering of military personnel on the post. He praised a recent high profile mission.
"Because this past Sunday was a great day for America,” Pence said.
In noting the death of the leader of ISIS, the vice president also recognized how the post was the target of a terroristic attack ten years ago.
"The American people are with you, and this nation will never forget or fail to honor the service and sacrifice of our heroes who fell on November 5th 2009. That is my solemn pledge," Pence said.
Democratic party leaders welcomed the vice president with a cold shoulder equal to the north wind that blew through downtown. In a statement party chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said:
"When it comes to the Trump administration's commitment to the military, look no further than trump's plan to divert $38.5 million in important military funds for a useless wall that Texans do not want."
Despite that political swipe, the Vice President’s motorcade left downtown under heavy security and with little to no protesters to see him off.