You’d have to ask Donald Trump why he decided to use his press conference this afternoon to try to take Mike Pence down with him. But there’s no mistaking that Trump did precisely that, when he repeatedly urged the media to demand the transcripts of Pence’s recent phone calls with the president of Ukraine.
Donald Trump insisted in that same breath that Mike Pence’s transcripts are completely clean. But if that were the case, then Trump would have just released them today. Instead, Trump knows the transcripts incriminate or at least scandalize Pence, and he’s goading the media into being the ones to take Pence down.
Of course if Trump and Pence both go down in rapid succession, anyone who has read the Constitution is aware that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi would inherit the presidency for the remainder of the term. That’s why, as Trump was busy throwing Pence under the bus on live national television, “President Pelosi” began trending atop Twitter.
This is unlikely to happen. If it got to a point where Donald Trump or Mike Pence were both going to have to resign, Congress would pressure one of them to resign first, so the other could nominate a new Vice President from outside the order of succession, as the Constitution allows (Nixon nominated Ford in this manner after Agnew resigned). This nominee would need to be confirmed by the House and Senate, meaning it would need to be a bipartisan pick. After this person was confirmed, then the second of Trump and Pence would resign, thus allowing this new person to become president. But if Trump and Pence go down in rapid succession, then yeah, it’ll be President Pelosi.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report