White House: No plans for a President Pelosi if Trump, Pence are incapacitated by coronavirus
The disease penetrated the president’s inner circle last week after one of Trump’s personal valets and Katie Miller, Pence’s press secretary and the wife of White House adviser Stephen Miller, both tested positive for Covid-19. But McEnany said the administration has not taken action to prepare for the possibility that Pelosi might need to step in as commander in chief.
“That’s not even something that we’re addressing,” she told reporters. “We’re keeping the president healthy. We’re keeping the vice president healthy. And you know they’re healthy at this moment, and they’ll continue to be.”
As speaker of the House, Pelosi (D-Calif.) is second in the presidential line of succession after Pence. Should she fall ill or be unable to perform the duties required by the office, the role of acting president would be passed on to the president pro tempore of the Senate, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.) Fourth in the line is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, followed by a slew of other Cabinet officials.
In response to the heightened risk of infection, the White House Management Office issued a memo Monday requiring West Wing staffers to wear masks or other face coverings at all times in the building, except at their own desks.
Trump indicated at a White House event Monday that he and Pence would be communicating by phone, and McEnany said at a news briefing Tuesday that “the vice president has made the choice to keep his distance for a few days.” Pence has no public events scheduled Thursday.
Pressed on whether the prospect of a Pelosi presidency should be under discussion given the new coronavirus cases at the White House, McEnany reiterated: “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.”
Trump was similarly dismissive Wednesday when asked about Pelosi potentially taking his place in the Oval Office, asserting in an interview with Fox Business that “she 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.
A spokesperson for Pelosi did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday on whether the speaker’s office had discussed or made any recent preparations for her possibly assuming the presidency.
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