Even before President Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus, theories about a contested presidential election have presented scenarios that could result in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) becoming the next commander in chief. Of course, Vice President Mike Pence would stand in her way as second in the constitutional line of succession.
A recent Politico article noted that as his role on the campaign trail becomes more important than ever, exposure to COVID-19 could potentially pave the way for a President Pelosi.
As the convalescing president’s “highest-profile surrogate,” the outlet reported that the Pence attended a campaign event in Utah on Monday ahead of the only vice-presidential debate of the campaign, which is still scheduled for Wednesday.
Amid an outbreak that has infected the president, first lady Melania Trump, and multiple others close to the White House in recent days, Pence clearly understands the risks associated with continuing in-person campaigning — but has determined they are worth taking.
“The VP is tested daily and it’s absolutely vital for him to be out on the trail,” said an unnamed Trump campaign official quoted in the piece.
According to the anonymous source, the Trump campaign is also planning to “campaign digitally” as well as “in-person and we’ll keep up the protocols we’ve always had.”
In a 20-minute audio recording purportedly captured during a campaign conference call, Pence appears to urge volunteers and staff members to forge ahead with campaign efforts. As multiple pundits have pointed out, if Trump’s health takes a turn for the worse and Pence is also sidelined because of the virus, Pelosi could potentially take the helm as acting president.
“It’s our turn to fight”
“I’ve said as I’ve traveled around the country many times in recent days, President Donald Trump has never stopped fighting for us,” Pence said. “Now it’s our turn to fight for him.”
He went on to remind those listening to his advice that proper safety precautions will be imperative as they continue on the campaign trail.
“Wash your hands on a regular basis, use hand sanitizer, wear a mask when you can’t socially distance,” the vice president said.
Meanwhile, Pence is gearing up for his debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), on Wednesday. In response to concerns raised by the Biden camp, the two candidates will be separated by a wall of plexiglass.
Trump has signaled that he has every intention of participating in the remaining two presidential debates, but with some Democrats clamoring to cancel them, the upcoming Pence-Harris matchup might be even more significant.