FRIDAY, Oct. 9–This morning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi drew attention to concern over President Trump’s health, discussing proposed legislation that would define the role of Congress in determining a president’s fitness under the 25th amendment, which outlines presidential succession. In an interview with GOOD Morning Wilton on Friday, Congressman Jim Himes (D) said he backed Speaker Pelosi.
“This is a White house that certainly in the last two or three weeks has demonstrated abject and total chaos,” Himes said. “I think Nancy Pelosi is not wrong to say, I hope that if the president struggles that the White House is a little clearer in their communications on who is controlling the nuclear codes than they have been on all of these other subjects.”
Himes credited Pelosi with raising valid questions, even if Congress isn’t currently in session to consider the proposed bill.
“If the president were unconscious or if you had to go back to the hospital, or if he were in an intensive care unit, how prepared is the White House to tell not just the American people, that’s important, who’s in charge, but to tell the world. We have adversaries out there who might regard a moment of uncertainty about exactly who is in charge of the United States, as an opportunity to do something aggressive,” Himes stated.
Trump was hospitalized last week for treatment of COVID-19, raising questions about when and if the vice president would step in. The focus has intensified as the president’s actions in recent days have been unpredictable, something Himes pointed out and said wasn’t partisan.
“That’s not a Democrat talking. All you need to do is look at the president’s Twitter feed–the debate is off, and then the debate is on. He cancels [stimulus package] negotiations and the next day the negotiations are on. If he were to be incapacitated, that kind of chaos is profoundly dangerous to the country,” Himes told GMW.
Himes also criticized the White House for not being forthcoming with information on the president’s health.
“We don’t know exactly when the president was diagnosed. We don’t, we haven’t heard that he’s taken a negative test. The behavior by having the president interacting with people at that Rose garden ceremony for the Supreme Court Justice nominee. With this White House, you don’t assume that things are going to go smoothly and carefully,” Himes said.
Discussion about evaluating the question about whether a president will be able to continue performing the duties of the office is valid and a question of national security, Himes added.
“Remember he was on oxygen at Walter Reed Hospital, apparently in some distress. Issues of what happens if he is incapacitated come up in a very big way. Remember, this is the individual who controls the nuclear codes. So it’s deeply, deeply serious stuff,” he said.