SAN DIEGO -- Vice President Mike Pence visited two U.S Navy bases in San Diego Thursday, witness the unloading of seized drugs off a Coast Guard cutter, and attend a fundraising dinner for President Donald Trump's re- election campaign.
During his stop in San Diego, Pence visited U.S. Naval Amphibious Base Coronado and Naval Air Station North Island. At the Naval Air Station, Pence attended the offloading of what the Coast Guard says are more than 39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana worth a combined estimated $569 million from the cutter Munro, which is normally homeported in Alameda. The drugs were seized in international waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
“Make no mistake about this, your courageous service is saving American lives,” VP Pence said to the service men and women aboard the ship. "I think there’s no question, that as we continue to secure our border, we’re going to see the drug cartels use the open ocean to move narcotics more than they do today."
FOX 5 boarded the Munro shortly before 9:30 a.m.:
The vice president was accompanied by James W. Carroll, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; Uttam Dhillon, acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration; and Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area.
He spoke to members of the Coast Guard after his tour. He also spoke to FOX5 one-on-one before departing the ship. One of the topics of conversation revolving around another servicemen, Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher and the possibility of a pardon for the one remaining count against him.
"The president was pleased to see a jury of his peers acquit him of his most serious crimes," VP Pence said. "Any subsequent decision, I would leave to The President and his offices.”
VP Pence refrained from comment on another figure in the public spotlight in San Diego, Congressman Duncan Hunter. Congressman Hunter faces a handful of federal charges for allegations involving misuse of campaign funds. The Congressman has remained a staunch supporter of The Administration and has maintained the charges against him are politically motivated. However, VP Pence wouldn't comment on the possibility of a pardon because litigation is ongoing.
During a media huddle, the VP faced a handful of questions regarding the state of immigration facilities and whether more should be done to improve them. He acknowledged the system is broken, but said he took offense to allegations some Democrats have put forth recently.
“To refer to detention facilities as concentration camps is an outrage," VP Pence said "Nazis took lives and murder people, our Customers and Border Protection save lives every day.”
VP Pence said he plans to visit a center in Texas on Friday and plans to bring a camera in for people to see for themselves.
Second Lady Karen Pence was also slated to speak to military spouses about job opportunities for those married to service members during the visit:
Although Pence has not visited San Diego County in an official capacity since taking office in January 2017, he traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border in Calexico, located about 100 miles east of San Diego in Imperial County, in April 2018 to discuss immigration policy and view renovated areas of border fencing.
"We are thrilled to have @VP @Mike_Pence visit San Diego," Republican Party of San Diego County Chairman Tony Krvaric wrote in a Twitter post. "All fair-minded San Diegans will acknowledge that the Trump-Pence administration's policies have ushered in unprecedented economic growth and support for our military service members."
Pence arrived in San Diego Wednesday night after visiting Naval Air Station Lemoore and Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc. The stop is part of a three-day swing through California and Texas to visit constituents and military bases.
A "Baby Trump" balloon was flown outside the vice president's downtown hotel Thursday morning. The now-familiar protest symbol has been spotted at presidential visits to the border and abroad.
On Friday, Pence will visit the Donna immigrant detention facility in McAllen, Texas, with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.