White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday the administration is keeping President Trump and Vice President Pence healthy and is not “addressing” the prospect of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rising to power if Trump and Pence become incapacitated due to the coronavirus.
Pelosi is second in line to the presidency according to the Presidential Succession Act of 1947.
A reporter asked McEnany if the White House has “a procedure in place in case Speaker Pelosi needs to come in if the president and the vice president are incapacitated.”
“That's not even something that we're addressing,” McEnany said. “We're keeping the president healthy. We're keeping the vice president healthy. ... They're healthy at this moment, and they'll continue to be.”
The same reporter then followed up: “But is it something they should be considering?”
“The president's healthy, the vice president's healthy, and I think that's something all reporters should be celebrating and the American people as well,” McEnany answered.
Trump told Fox Business Pelosi “would be a disaster” as president.
“Never going to happen. We’ll keep our vice president very healthy, and I’ll stay healthy. Never going to happen,” he said, according to Politico.
The line of succession has been discussed in Washington, D.C., as the coronavirus has gotten closer to Trump. Pence’s press secretary tested positive for the coronavirus, as did one of Trump’s personal vallets. Trump and Pence, though, have tested negative.
White House staff are now required to wear masks.
The U.S. Constitution speaks of only one successor to the president: the vice president. But in 1792, Congress passed and President Washington signed a Presidential Succession Act that placed the president pro tempore of the Senate second in line and the House Speaker third. The Presidential Succession Act of 1886 removed the president pro tempore and the House Speaker from the line of succession, but the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 – signed by President Truman – placed them back in the line. The 1947 act, though, made the House Speaker second and the president pro tempore third.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Alex Wong/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.