Oct 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pelosi says she's receiving Trump health updates through the media, not briefings

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Sunday she is receiving health updates on President Trump, who is in the hospital with the coronavirus, through the media and not through official briefings or contact with the White House.

Why it matters: Pelosi is second in the line of succession behind Vice President Mike Pence.

  • The media has played a significant role in bringing to light the negligence of White House officials in containing the coronavirus, as well as in making sense of the confusing narrative coming from the Trump administration surrounding the president's health.

What she's saying: "We're getting our information the way everyone else is, in the media," Pelosi told CBS' "Face the Nation."

  • "But in terms of the succession, that's an ongoing process. Sadly at this time, it comes to the forefront," she added.
  • "We pray for his good health, his speedy recovery. But I hope it will be a signal that we really have to do better in preventing the spread of this virus."
  • "We wouldn't pray if we didn't believe there was a chance that there could be an answer. And so I pray that in addition to his health, that the president's heart will be open to the millions of people who have been affected, the hundreds of thousands of families that have suffered a death, and also to recognize that a preponderance of the impact of the virus in communities of color that maybe don't have the kind of access to care that the president or the rest of us have."

Worth noting: The Constitution establishes a chain for who becomes "acting president" if the president is incapacitated — but even in the event that both Trump and Pence fall ill from the coronavirus, many responsibilities could be delegated to White House staff before they'd turn to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

  • "Actual succession under the 25th Amendment only kicks in with an effective vacancy due to death or complete incapacity," according to Jonathan Turley, a professor of law at George Washington University.
  • Pence has tested negative for the coronavirus.

Go deeper: The media’s 2020 moment

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