The President and Vice President Mason were at the top of the stairs when the door opened. The President motioned for all the Secret Service and the pilots to leave. I did the same to my JBG security. The pilots closed the door behind them.
We had an in depth discussion about the events in Pakistan my insights and after thoughts.
”There is no way I would have survived the attack. I would have depended strictly on the Secret Service detachment assigned to me and we would have died,” Vice President Mason said.
”With my health the way it is and now this, I have had enough. I have told the President than I am going to resign and retire from politics effective immediately,” Vice President Mason said then he added, ” I recommended that he nominate you to replace me.”
”BJ, I know that you have said a thousand times that you are not a politician. But after the years of working with you and watching you, I know that is not so. You have so many good instincts in difficult situations that it is going to be impossible to find someone who can fill your shoes on the task force.”
”But you have one instinct that makes you stand out in the crowd. You have served your country every time you were called on. You never back away from a challenge. As the General would say, you never ran from the gunfire – you charge it and come out victorious.”
”Your country is calling on you again to serve as only you can, this time as the Vice President of the United States,” the President said.
”I need to have a discussion with my mates. I have spent so much time away from them and the business that I want to make sure they are OK with me being away even more,” I said.
The President opened the door and the three of us walked out from the platform onto the stairs. I called for Jenny, Lorrie, Vicky, Marcy and Ching Lee to come up the stairs.
The President and Vice President followed us in and they went back to the lounge section while I talked with the girls, filling them in on the President’s request.
”I haven’t said yes and if any of you are opposed, I will turn the job down. It will mean some changes, the biggest thing will be a little more work and I’m sure we have people we can promote to pick up the extra work. I would not want this to cause any problems among us. I love all of you way too much to allow that to happen.”
”It would be for fourteen months and I could still spend plenty of time home – especially most weekends – and you can all stay with me here any time you like. Washington is so close,” I said.
”What do you think? Should I go there or walk away?” I asked.
”We have cross-trained each other to be able to do everyone else’s job. Yes, we have plenty of good people who can fill any gaps as needed. We have always planned for bigger and better things. You cannot get much bigger than that offer,” Marcy said.
”Together, Andy and I can take over full control of the Mexican, European and Middle East agreements. Ching Lee and I can still control the embassy security. We know what you wanted to do and were trying to do,” Vicky said.
”Even with the upcoming college additions, I can still handle the college security division. Andy said he would send me as many men as I needed to staff the new positions,” Ching Lee said.
”The aviation and rental divisions are still growing. I am adding planes and pilots to handle the demand. My clerks and vice presidents can handle it and I will make sure to leave plenty of openings so we can all have some rest and recreation at Deep Water Cay – and you will need it,” Lorrie said.
”Out mate, our best friend and lover, Vice President of the United States. Vice President Jones does have a ring to it. The President is right; you have always served. Yes, I think you should do it,” Jenny said.
Then they all chimed in with their approvals. Then there was a mass hug and tears.
I told the President that I would accept and offered to let the vice President stay in Number One Observatory Circle until he was finished with his treatments, no matter how long it took. He didn’t need the pressure of finding new doctors.
We talked a few more minutes about the news conference. First was the Pakistan attack. Then Vice President Mason would announce he had resigned. Then the President would announce his choice to replace VP Mason.
The girls sent texts to Mom, Dad, Jason, Lisa, Jake and Andy to watch the news conference to the end.
The girls had brought me a new heavy vest. The bullets that struck me were still stuck in the one I had been wearing. The Air Force had brought out a frame to hold it before the news conference. It was to give the reporters something to fill air time while we were talking in the plane.
I started off the news conference and gave a description of the events from beginning to end from a time line of events we had put together on the flight back.
Then Secretary of State Dick James gave an overview of the rules for visiting dignitaries as established by international law. Those clearly placed the responsibility on Pakistan for the security failure.
Then the President spoke for fifteen minutes and the questions began.
”Who made the decision for you to wear the heavy vest?” one asked.
”The vest is not US government issue. It was the decision of my JBG security team and the vest is the property of JBG. I was wearing two vests, a new light weight body vest that I wear any time I venture outside and the heavy vest when traveling ,” I said.
”Who picked the JBG security team that accompanied you to Pakistan?” another asked.
”I have a number of individuals that make up my personal security teams. They have a variety of specialized skills from hand to hand combat specialists, explosive experts and fire arms experts, including snipers and other specialized skills. I chose the members of the JBG team.”
”What happens to the vest now?” one asked.
”It goes in my JBG office. I have a collection of damaged body armor I was wearing at the time of various attacks on me,” I said.
Vice President Mason then spoke about the attack.
”I don’t wish BJ bad luck, but I am glad she was the one to go and took her own additional security team. I would have taken the normal Secret Service team and none of us would have been prepared for an attack of this magnitude. We would all have perished,” he said.
”On that note – because of my health issues – I have handed the President my resignation and fully support his choice to replace me,” Vice President Mason said.
The President took the podium again.
”This has been a long news conference so I will make this short. First I want to thank Vice President Mason for his tireless work in our administration and the thousands of miles traveled in negotiations at home and abroad. I wish him a speedy recovery.”
”I have asked Ambassador Roberta Jones to be the Vice President. I have called upon the leaders of the House and Senate to call a special session tomorrow to approve the nomination of Ambassador Jones. The world is too complicated and too dangerous for us to be without a vice President.”
”Ambassador Jones is known to us and worldwide from her JBG security, anti-terrorism and anti-drug work plus her time on the terrorist task force and then chairperson of the task force oversight committee.”
“She is a decorated soldier, a war hero who served her country and continues to serve her country when asked. I have asked her to serve again in my administration as Vice President. She will have big shoes to fill – I have no doubt she can fill them.”
”Whoever tries to replace her on the terrorist task force and task force oversight committee will have an even bigger pair to fill,” the President added.
The news conference lasted another twenty minutes. I answered questions the entire time. It was time to go home in the G5 the girls had come to Andrew’s in. If I had known the turn of events, I would liked to have our parents and Jake here.
We had a lot to talk about on the flight home and tonight. My first call was to Andy to ask him if I was crazy and then to set up a meeting when we landed.
I needed to do the necessary appearances at the Senate and House before the vote. Politics as usual – I just as well get used to it.
Then all of us were on the phone; all of our phones had been pinging. I also needed to do a lot of VCATS from the command center. It was going to be one busy night.
But first the girls wanted to do a celebration dinner tonight at the seafood inn. Family and close friends were being called.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.