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Sick: Nets Excited By ‘Worst Case Scenario’ After Trump Tests Positive for COVID

Sick: Nets Excited By ‘Worst Case Scenario’ After Trump Tests Positive for COVID

All three networks opened their Friday morning broadcasts eagerly promoting the idea that President Trump becomes seriously ill from the coronavirus. Immediately after he announced his positive test overnight, CNN broke in with hours of ghoulish gossip expecting the worst ,and this morning the more subdued networks floated the same possibility, even discussing Nancy Pelosi becoming the acting president if the 25th Amendment is invoked.

NBC’s Today show was the worst offender, spending several segments excited by the idea of Trump becoming  incapacitated and replaced.

Co-anchor Savannah Guthrie asked national security analyst Jeremy Bash what would happen “when you have a situation where the president may be seriously ill?” Bash hyped how Trump could become so sick he needed to be hospitalized:

First is what happened to the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson where he got so sick he had to go into intensive care. If the president is incapacitated, Mike Pence, the VP would become the acting president. That’s only happened three times in recent history, Savannah.

He noted that before worrying that our enemies might take advantage of the situation.

During the 3rd Hour Today show, the hosts spend a substantial amount of time strategizing what would happen in the worst case scenario with presidential historian Michael Beschloss. You can read the full exchange in the transcript at the bottom but here are some of the most awful exchanges and questions:

MELVIN: …[I]n the past when the president has become seriously ill, what’s happened? How many times has something like this happened in our nation’s history? 

PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Well, the last time a president’s life was in this much jeopardy was in 1981 when Ronald Reagan was shot in Washington, D.C. outside the Washington Hilton. And he benefited from the fact that there was something called an amendment to the Constitution which allows a president to temporarily pass power, if necessary.

So the good part of this is if there is any silver lining to this, Craig, is we’ve got a constitutional system. If something, God forbid, happened to a president and/or a vice president or then a Speaker of the House, President Pro Tempore in the Senate, then you go through the cabinet in order basically at seniority so there is a line of succession, the republic would be secure. 

DYLAN DREYER: So breaking down that process, if the worst case scenario does come true and the president might be able to temporarily do his job, what is the exact next step that happens? 

During this discussion, Beschloss repeatedly hyped how Trump was very sick, even though the White House physician said he was “well” and didn’t disclose if he was experiencing any symptoms. Regardless, Beschloss stated, “We’re about to see a time in history we have never seen before, especially because we are one month before a president running for re-election. We have never seen a president this sick so soon this close to an election.”

Chuck Todd and Al Roker also floated the idea of Nancy Pelosi becoming acting president:

TODD: This White House in particular needs to go above and beyond in its transparency about this….The line of succession to the presidency, once you get after the vice president, is up on Capitol Hill with the speaker Nancy Pelosi…

ROKER:  [E]ven though we know Vice President said this morning he tested positive [sic] but how far down the line–How far down the line is the line of succession do they get planned for something like this? 

While discussing the 25th Amendment possibility with correspondent Terry Moran on ABC’s Good Morning America, co-anchor Cecilia Vega wondered, “What would happen if the vice president were to become unable to fill in for President Trump?”

Moran noted how Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was “next in line of succession,” and “would resign and become acting president.” 

Over on CBS, correspondent Major Garrett also suggested Trump becoming “seriously ill” and needing to invoke the 25th Amendment  to co-anchor Tony Dokoupil:

DOKOUPIL: …[H]ow likely is it that he’ll be able to carry out his duties in quarantine? 

MAJOR GARRETT: Fully likely as long as he doesn’t get seriously ill. If he gets seriously ill then the 25th Amendment comes into play. Ratified in 1967, it’s a temporary transfer of power to the vice president if for any reason medical or otherwise you’re incapacitated. We’re not there yet, we’re not close to that but It’s a question on the minds of every citizen. And the White House has to explain daily how the president’s doing and how close, if at all close, it’s getting to that point. 

Gayle King ended this segment touting the “ramifications” from the President’s positive test. Dokoupil later asked John Dickerson about using the amendment again “if the president takes a bad turn.”

NBC rooting for Trump to be incapacitated or worse was paid for advertisers Giant and State Farm, whom you can contact by following the links above.

You can read the relevant transcripts below:

NBC’s Today Show

10/2/2020

9:14 am-9:18:01AM EST

CRAIG MELVIN: Once again, we find ourselves in some unchartered waters. But try and put this into some historical context if you can. When the president is seriously ill, again, it’s important to note we don’t know at this point how President Trump is doing. But in the past when the president has become seriously ill, what’s happened? How many times has something like this happened in our nation’s history? 

PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Well, the last time a president’s life was in this much jeopardy was in 1981 when Ronald Reagan was shot in Washington, D.C. outside the Washington Hilton. And he benefited from the fact that there was something called an amendment to the Constitution which allows a president to temporarily pass power, if necessary. Reagan didn’t do that then. He did it a couple years later when he had an operation saying he would transfer power to Vice President George H.W. Bush for a number of hours until he was out of anesthesia. That’s something that was not true of most of America. It was only passed to the 1960s. When most of American history in a situation like this, we might have been without a president if the president was incapacitated. 

AL ROKER: Michael, given the spread or the potential spread of this, even though we know Vice President said this morning he tested positive but how far down the line–[co-hosts correct him]–negative I mean, absolutely—How far down the line is the line of succession do they get planned for something like this? 

BESCHLOSS: Goes all the way down through the cabinet. There’s something called continuity in government which the executive branch is usually very serious about. During the Eisenhower years, they would actually have drills. For instance if there was a nuclear attack, the president would get on a helicopter and fly to the hideout in Virginia he was to go to if there was an actual attack at that time from the Soviet Union. So the good part of this is if there is any silver lining to this, Craig, is we’ve got a constitutional system. If something, God forbid, happened to a president and/or a vice president or then a Speaker of the House, President pro-tempore in the Senate, then you go through the cabinet in order basically at seniority so there is a line of succession, the republic would be secure. 

DYLAN DREYER: So breaking down that process, if the worst case scenario does come true and the president might be able to temporarily do his job, what is the exact next step that happens? 

BESCHLOSS: Well, what could happen is if the president was conscious enough, he could write a letter, the same as Reagan did to Vice President Bush in the 1980s, or if that was not true, under the Constitutional Amendment, you could have a majority of the cabinet do it or another similar body declare him incapacitated and say the vice president will act as president until the president is able to operate again. We have not been in those waters before. We’re about to see a time in history we have never seen before, especially because we are one month before a president running for re-election. We have never seen a president this sick so soon this close to an election. 

SHEINELLE JONES: Let’s talk about right now. At this point, The president says he’s currently quarantining in the White House, will be working in isolation from his residency. At this point, though, can he fulfill his normal duties within this context? Or will the vice president step in, just to take on a bit more responsibility? How does that work? 

BESCHLOSS: My guess is knowing President Trump, this is not someone who will be eager to give any responsibility to the vice president if he can help it. So we will have a situation. We know President Trump operates from living quarters for a large part of the day already even in times of health. As you know, a president can operate from just about anywhere. He can operate from a hospital as long as he was conscious. As you know, a president has very good communications, for instance on Air Force One. None of that is in sight. But the point is the presidency is built so that as long as you got an alert, conscious president, he doesn’t have to be sitting in the Oval Office.

CBS This Morning

10/2/2020

7:43:37AM-7:44:38AM EST

TONY DOKOUPIL: Major on that last point, a lot of Americans are going to be waking up and they’re going to have one question in mind, can the president continue to do his job. Based on how this president works and what you know of the work of the presidency in general, how likely is it that he’ll be able to carry out his duties in quarantine? 

MAJOR GARRETT: Fully likely as long as he doesn’t get seriously ill. If he gets seriously ill then the 25th Amendment comes into play. Ratified in 1967, it’s a temporary transfer of power to the vice president if for any reason medical or otherwise you’re incapacitated. We’re not there yet, we’re not close to that but It’s a question on the minds of every citizen. And the White House has to explain daily how the president’s doing and how close, if at all close, it’s getting to that point. 

GAYLE KING: The key word again as you said at the top of this broadcast, transparency. It’s so important to know exactly what is happening in the White House at all times when it comes to this — when it comes to this illness, this virus. 

GARRETT: In this context, in the midst of this campaign, with this virus, it has never been more important.

KING: So many ramifications here.

8:09:45-8:10:29amEST

TONY DOKOUPIL: John, we’re all dealing with a lot of uncertainty this morning. One of the big ifs is if the president takes a bad turn, what happens to the leadership in the White House? We’ve heard about the 25th Amendment. Can you tell us about what that protocol is and whether it’s been used before in American history?

JOHN DICKERSON: It has been used before in short duration when Ronald Reagan well a colonoscopy, when George Bush did twice, and there’s — and Mike Pence was on standby at least once to use it. There is a process for this. There will be a run-up period here where it could — where everybody could kind of figure out exactly what the protocols are. So there’s a way to handle this should we ever get to that path which we’re a long way from at the moment.

ABC’s Good Morning America

10/2/2020

7:33:38AM-7:35:35AM EST

CECILIA VEGA: The White House doctor Jon just mentioned said that the President and the First Lady are both well at this time and will maintain a vigilant watch over them and Terry Moran has more from Washington. Terry, one of the major questions this morning, what happens if the president becomes unable to do his job?

TERRY MORAN: That’s right, Cecilia. That’s where the 25th Amendment to the Constitution kicks in. That’s the amendment that was passed after the assassination of John Kennedy and it does provide and it’s been tested clear guidance on what happens. It would be the President of the United States, President Trump submitting a written declaration to the Senate and to the House saying he is temporarily unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Upon recovery the president would then submit another declaration saying I’m okay. This has been used three times during planned surgeries that Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush underwent. Now what happens if the president falls so ill he unable to make that written declaration well then, the cabinet would meet and it would vote that the president is unable to discharge those powers and duties. They submit that written declaration and the vice president would once again become acting president. It’s important in both situations, this is temporary. It has been done and so the guardrails are there. But this is something that is available to the president if he needs it.

VEGA: There are big questions about Vice President Mike Pence. When he last saw President Trump, but, again, all of this is hypothetical. What would happen if the vice president were to become unable to fill in for President Trump?

MORAN: Well then you’re in the deep woods of the 25th Amendment. The House — Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is next in line of succession. There would be a written declaration that the president and vice president are unable to discharge their duties. Nancy Pelosi would resign and become acting president.

Published at Fri, 02 Oct 2020 11:52:00 +0000