President Donald Trump addressed the possibility that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could temporarily assume the office of president if he or Vice President Mike Pence become incapacitated as a result of the coronavirus.
The prospect of even a temporary Pelosi presidency was raised by journalist John Solomon, in a Monday tweet.
“Pelosi would be third in line to serve as presidency if Trump, Pence become incapacitated by COVID-19,” Solomon tweeted, with a link to an article on the subject, which he posted on his news website, Just The News.
Trump responded to Solomon’s tweet Tuesday morning, saying, “Then we must be very careful. Crazy Nancy would be a total disaster, and the USA will never be a Communist Country!”
As Speaker of the House, Pelosi is third in line to the presidency if the president and then the vice president are incapacitated or killed.
Trump’s comment comes just days after a number of individuals within the White House have tested positive with coronavirus or have taken up isolation out of concern about possible infection.
Last week a U.S. Navy member assigned to the White House as a personal valet for Trump tested positive with coronavirus. A day later Katie Miller, who is an aide to Pence and spouse to Trump aide Stephen Miller, also tested positive for coronavirus.
Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for Pence, said the Vice President would continue in his White House duties and not go into isolation.
“Vice President Pence will continue to follow the advice of the White House Medical Unit and is not in quarantine,” O’Malley said. “Additionally, Vice President Pence has tested negative every single day and plans to be at the White House [Monday].”
Two members of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff were also missing from a meeting with Trump over the weekend, due to coronavirus concerns. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday was in isolation after a family member tested positive with the virus. National Guard Bureau Gen. Joseph Lengyel also took up isolation, having tested positive for coronavirus in instance, but negative in another, leaving his exact diagnosis inconclusive. Lengyel reportedly underwent a third coronavirus test on Monday to determine whether he could safely return to work or if he should continue in isolation.
The White House has also implemented temperature checks for guests and reporters entering White House grounds and has enforced spacing in between seats at regular coronavirus press briefings, in line with federal social distancing guidelines.