Tumi Bestard, who stood down as the United States Consular Agent to the Balearics in 2007 after 45 years of serving the State Department, told the Bulletin today that should Hillary Clinton be elected president, he will invite her to return to Majorca.
Tumi, one of the few non-native Americans to have held the post anywhere in the world, was integral in the official visit of president Bill Clinton, Hillary and daughter Chelsea to Majorca in June 1997. During that visit, not only did he strike up a very close relationship with the Clintons but missed meeting the presidential party when they landed on Air Force One at the Son Sant Joan air force base because he was being held at gun point by a member of the American secret service - one of the president’s men.
"The welcome party, we had all been waiting in the control tower, I had two or three mobiles on the go all the time organising everything, and eventually we were given the green light to go as Air Force One was about to touch down. We all headed out to the greeting point but on the way one of my phones rang and it was a call I had to take, so while talking, I got separated from the group.
"Once I had hung up I began to run towards the American ambassador to Spain to catch up with the group when I was suddenly shouted at to stop, twice in fact. And this guy then drew a pistol and held it a few feet from my face. I tried to explain, but I was not wearing one of the official jacket pins and by the time I had managed to solve the situation, I had missed greeting the president and his family.
"I explained to the ambassador who in turn explained to the president, and Clinton said he would talk to the person in question. But in all fairness, he was only doing his job. Later that day, I had to escort the president and Hillary round the Cathedral. At first the bishop’s office said that at 7pm it would be closed so the president would have to wait until the following day. But that was not the answer I wanted and eventually, accompanied by a senior representative from the church and a number of secret service guys, we were griven a private tour of the cathedral.
"At first, when I did finally meet the president, I was speechless- He was the first serviing president I had met: all of the others, like Jimmy Carter and Bush Senior had retired. But I soon got over it and we had a great tour and then the president said ‘let’s go for a drink’. I suggested one of Palma’s oldest cafés, but the president fancied somewhere a bit modern, so we went to Cappuccino where most of his bodyguards hung out anyway and we had a great chat and he apologised for the mix up at the airport.
"During the visit, Hillary also apologised and said that if I was ever in Washington to get in touch. In November that same year, I had to go on the annual refresher course at the State Department and I tried to get a message to the White House that I was in town. For a few days I heard nothing until one day a senior member of the State Department turned up and said that I had been invited to lunch at the White House.
"The president was away but Hillary and I spent a wonderful three hours over lunch, during which she again apologised again for the incident at the airport, before I was given the full tour of the White House. So, if she is elected, and I am 97 per cent sure she will be, despite the dreadful behaviour of the FBI, I shall return the invitation."
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