tv Washington Journal John Hudak CSPAN October 3, 2020 2:47pm-3:06pm EDT
eric from wall street journal for coming on with us this morning and walk us through the new unemployment numbers. >> incumbent republican senator lindsey graham and democratic challenger jamie harrison displayed in the south carolina u.s. senate debate tonight. the first time the candidates will meet face-to-face. live coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> "washington journal" continues. host: we're back with brookings institutions governance studies hudak, herew john to discuss with us the president and the first lady's covid-19 diagnosis and what could happen next. good morning. guest: good morning. host: so how serious is it that the president of the united states has a positive covid-19 result?
guest: it is probably the most serious crisis sitting president has had since resident reagan 1981.ot in the president help is important to him and his family but it is important to the nation and to the world. ill president creates uncertainty that affects the financial markets, affects our relationship with our allies and obviously with our enemies as well, and i think that uncertainty has really spread throughout the world over the past 24-36 hours. while americans and a lot of people around the world are praying for the president and the first lady and his staff to get well, in the meantime, there are a lot of questions that will need to be answered by the white house and others and assurances that need to be made around the country and around the world that the president is well, and throughout the process, the status of the president's health. host: you wrote in july and article that says "what happens if president trump contracts covid-19?"
here is one of the paragraphs from the story, where you said, "it would be important for the president to communicate with the public, especially if he is mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic. seeing the president on camera can restore faith in his wellness, calm americans, stabilized stock markets that would surely see a deep in the event of a positive test, and project of world that the president remains well enough to execute the office." it has only been one day. but are we seeing any of that. ? guest: we did see that yesterday. he released a short video on twitter standing on his own, communicating with the public, telling them that he was feeling ok, that he feels like he is doing very well and that he was going to walter reed medical center for precautionary reasons and for treatment. that was a good first step. unfortunately, we are in a spot is in ae the president
medical facility and his ability to communicate with the public on camera is probably a little curtailed, though i don't know what exactly the rules are within the presidential suite in walter reed. -- what he president will get in terms of his cell phone and whether he will talk to the public. but in terms of tweeting. , dialing into phone -- television interviews if you can, is an important way to show people that there is transparency in this process and that the president is doing fine. host: what will be the impact on the pres.'s daily duties -- from the president's daily duties? what is the impact? guest: the information that the president needs can be gotten to him no matter where he is, whether he is on the opposite side of the world, whether he is in air force one, in a bunker beneath the white house, or in
walter read medical center. the presidential suite at walter reed is designed processing for these situations. while obviously the most important issue right now is the president's health, this patient at walter reed is unlike any other patient. he is the leader of the free world, president of the united states, and there are processes in place to ensure that classified information can be gotten to the president. briefed.an be that he can communicate with in the of his staff and any world leader that he would need to at any moment. so long as the president's health allows it, the processes of government will go on from walter reed, much the way they would from the white house. host: your book pointed out that the president has access to some of the best health care in the world at walter reed but his age and his weight put him at a higher risk -- at a high risk category. how important is it for the american people to know what is happening with his health, and
what treatment he is getting at walter reed? guest: it is critically important. we value in the united states privacy and health care for individuals, and while the president is certainly entitled to some of that privacy, we also have to recognize that he is a patient unlike any other and his health and his well-being affects a lot of americans. as i said earlier, it affects markets around the united states and around the world. so long as the president is doing well, the american public is entitled to do that. unfortunately, if we get to the unfortunate event where the president is not doing well, it is important to communicate that as well. we have processes in place if his health declines to ensure the continuity of government and it is critical that americans and the public at large understands what is going on inside the presidential suite at walter reed. host: let's let our viewers join
in on the conversation. we will open up regional lines. that means if you are in the eastern-central times of 202-748-8000. ,if you are in the mountain and pacific time zones 202-748-8001. atd you can always text us 202-748-8003. one of the things he also said in your story from july is that the line of succession to the president would have to be protected. i would read. it would paragraph -- be important to keep vice president pence, speaker pelosi, senator grassley, the president pro tempore, and members of the cabinet isolated from the president. it would be especially important to ensure the vice president has limited contact with individuals generally to reduce his chances of contracting the virus as well. the white house is saying that vice president pence has tested negative.
speaker pelosi has also said she has tested negative. should they be doing anything special to ensure that they do not catch covid-19? guest: absolutely. obviously, all eyes are on the president's health and well-being, but the reality is that the presidency is more than one person, more than one man, and we need to think about what happens next. it is important to remember, the president is currently hospitalized with the virus that has killed 210,000 americans. this is a serious moment and we need to think about the president and keep him in our thoughts and prayers, but we also need to think about the vice president, the speaker, the president pro tem, and sunni members of the cabinet as part of the line of succession. it would be a real mistake for the vice president to continue his daily activities as he has been conducting them, because he to aight now, very close heartbeat away from the presidency. he needs to think clearly that even if the president doesn't
pass away from this, the president may need to temporarily transfer power to the vice president,,'s health is absolutely essential to maintain. taking the steps to do that i am sure is happening in some context right now, but the white house and the campaign really need to think clearly about how much contact the vice president has. and after that, the speaker, who is older than the president and the vice president, for health needs to be maintained. and the president pro tem of the senate is older than all three of them. you needs to take extra precautions in the unlikely or unfortunate event that he needs to step in as acting president. host: the vice president has a debate coming up soon on wednesday. should he take extra precautions when he goes to debate democratic west presidential harris?e, kamala guest: absolutely. in that setting, it is more than
just about the vice president. at the debate, one of those two people on the stage will be vice president of the united states come january 20. in that sense, it is important to protect the vice president's health primarily for the line of succession. it is also important to protect senator harris's health as in a few months, she may be the person a heartbeat away from the presidency. in that sense -- we saw distancing happening at the debate, of course, that kind of distancing happens at every presidential debate with the exception of course, of canceling the traditional handshake before and after the debate. obviously, extra precautions need to be put in place. the vice president needs to be put. traveled with the fewest staff members as possible, he to come into contact with the fewest number of people in that arena, and he and senator harris need to stay as far apart from each
other as possible. at the end of the day, where the white house has said that the vice president has not come into contact with people in the white house who are testing positive, we don't know how many people in the white house yet are going to test positive. there are a lot of question marks about whether the vice president's health will continue to be what it is now, and that is in negative covid test. continues, but extra precautions need to be in place particularly because what is happening in the white house with regards to this virus is still an unknown. host: let's let our viewers join in. we start with richard calling from ohio. richard, good morning. caller: good morning. i have a could nancy pelosi become president if the supreme court is 4-4 if this lady is not nominated?
how does she become president if the supreme court is still 4-4 on january 20? guest: there are a couple of processes by which speaker pelosi could become president. the first is if the president and vice president die. she is next after the vice president in the line of succession. if the president and vice president were incapacitated, she would step in as acting president. that also plays out in a way around the election. if the election were unresolved on election day, which is extraordinarily unlikely to happen, but if it were unresolved, that means the electoral votes were not counted, congress did not certify the election, there would be no president or vice president elect to swear into office. in that case, the speaker would become the acting president so long as the election remained unresolved. when it was resolved, the would bels elected
sworn into office just like they would be on january 20. the only way nancy pelosi or whoever would be speaker of the house would become president in their own right would be because of the death, removal, or resignation of both the president and vice president. otherwise, her role would be temporary and in an acting capacity. it is important to note when we get past january 3, there would be a new congress. all signs point to democrats maintain control of the house and nancy pelosi remaining as speaker. but if something were to change, that conversation would be around whoever is the speaker is at that point. host: speaking of speaker pelosi, there has been an argument floating around about the presidential succession line. right now, we go from vice president to speaker of the
house. apparently, a yale law professor argued in 1995 the house speaker becoming the acting president would be unconstitutional, saying the constitution says officers, and they mean that to mean people in the executive skip thehich would speaker and pro tempore. what do you think about that? guest: it is challenging under the constitution. it is certainly not a universal approach or theory on this. we have never had to test this. the furthest we have gone in the line of succession is the vice president, thankfully. i do think if we were in a situation where both the president and vice president were either incapacitated, no longer in office, or dead, we
would be in a very serious national crisis. would step inlosi as acting president, legal challenges would arise, they would be dealt with in the courts. but during that time, i cannot imagine a federal court issuing werejunction saying they removing nancy pelosi as acting president, or against whoever the speaker was at the time acting president. that would play out in the courts. ultimately, the supreme court would decide the constitutionality of the first two rungs of the presidential succession act. that would be an enormous national crisis. we would be hoping the process would be a seamless one. but it would be a real challenge in terms of dealing with how the administration's government and lawsuits would be
adding significantly to that challenge and crisis. host: before we go to our next caller, a bit of breaking news. we have had a third republican announce he is now positive for covid-19. senator ron johnson of wisconsin is the third senate republican to test positive for coronavirus. like you said, this is an ongoing and moving news event as we are finding out more people who have been in the white house's orbit are now testing positive for coronavirus. sorry, go ahead. in, this i could jump goes back to the point we were discussing earlier about the importance of protecting the line of succession. we now have three sitting senators who are covid positive. person on the line of succession, the third person to succeed the president, chuck
grassley, and president pro tem, he needs to be isolated from senate colleagues and staff. just like in the white house when we don't know how many will test positive, that is increasingly troop in the senate as well. as a member of the line of grassley ischuck important to ensure. go to kathy from kansas. caller: good morning. the question i have is about the white house itself. if the white house