White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Thursday that no plans have been made with regard to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ascending to the presidency in the event that President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both become incapacitated by COVID-19, Politico reports. Her revelation on the subject of succession comes in the wake of multiple members of the administration’s inner circle testing positive for the coronavirus infection.
“That’s not even something that we’re addressing,” she told assembled media members in the White House driveway on Thursday. “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 reported by Politico, Pence spokeswoman Katie Miller, who is also the wife of White House senior adviser and presidential speechwriter Stephen Miller, tested positive for COVID-19 last week. A member of the president’s personal valet service is also reported to have tested positive for the coronavirus, but their identity has not been revealed.
Nevertheless, McEnany has asserted that the administration has not taken action to prepare for the possibility that Pelosi may be called upon to assume the duties of commander in chief. Instead, the White House is focused on keeping the president and his administration healthy. To that end, the White House Management Office reportedly issued a memo this week requiring West Wing staffers to wear masks at all times when they are in the building, except when working at their own desks.
In the event that both the president and vice president are unable to perform the duties of the office, Pelosi would be the next person in the line of presidential succession. The speaker of the house was reestablished as the second in line to the presidency as part of the Presidential Succession Act of 1947. The act, which President Harry S. Truman signed into law in July of that year, also restored the president pro tempore of the Senate to the line of succession directly after the house speaker.
If Pelosi were also to fall ill and become incapacitated, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley would be next in line as the president pro tempore of the Senate, followed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The concept of the COVID-19 pandemic infiltrating the White House by way of infection has become a growing concern in light of the recent positive tests. Meanwhile, as reported by The Inquisitr, a new study has indicated that the tests used by Trump, as well as administration officials and staff, may be unreliable. Per the NYU Langone Health study, the tests created false negatives in almost half of all cases in which they were used.
That study has not been peer-reviewed, however.