SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told national news media Thursday that she planned to discuss the 25th Amendment the next day, hinting that she and her colleagues are considering succession plans for President Donald Trump as he fights COVID-19.
Pelosi made the announcement during a press conference Thursday morning about the health of the president and possibly pushing through a stimulus bill to offset the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. A reporter asked Pelosi if Trump’s illness meant it was time to invoke the 25th amendment, which lays out plans for replacing the president of the United States when he becomes unable to fulfill his duties.
Her answer? “I’ll talk to you about that tomorrow.”
Pelosi says at her weekly press conference: "By the way, tomorrow — come here tomorrow. We're going to be talking about the 25th Amendment."
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 8, 2020
“I’m not talking about it today,” Pelosi said. “But you take me back to my point: Mr. President, when was the last time you had a negative test before you tested positive? Why is the White House not telling the country?”
Congress ratified the 25th Amendment in 1967, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The amendment not only provides protocol for replacing a president but allows an acting president to temporarily transfer power to the vice president; for example, in 2002 and 2007, President George W. Bush invoked the 25th Amendment to transfer presidential powers to Vice President Dick Cheney while Bush underwent colonoscopies.
After revealing his COVID-19 diagnosis last week, Trump has not invoked the 25th Amendment and transferred power to Vice President Mike Pence.