Of the 18 (eithteen) people in the line of presidential succession, 17 are constitutionally qualified. The Secretary of Transportation, the 14th on the list, was born in Taiwan. However, after careful scrutiny, only one name emerges as an acceptable replacement for President Trump, when, if and should the necessity arise. And, that is the third in the line of succession, the Senate President Pro Tempore, Senator Orrin Hatch. Why?
Notwithstanding, his role in the continued denigration of the Senate confirmation process, and the ....
Well, we will return to Senator Orrin Hatch, but first let's discuss the first and second in the line of presidential succession, Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, respectively.
It has been a long time in American presidential history, since the public has witnessed a vice-president that was kept as close to the president as Pence has been to President Trump. And, although the close physical proximity is obvious (a reporter is working on an article as to the amount of time the vice-president has spent in his office as opposed to the president's, in comparison to previous vice-presidents), but the ease and facility with which Vice President Pence (the Christian first) has developed the facility to lie with ease and conviction, is most disturbing. His pronouncements on the hill after the firing of the FBI Director, is just the latest example. But, it is his denial of the November 2016 letter from congress concerning Michael Flynn, which he denies receiving that places him in the cross hairs of the realm of high crimes and misdemeanors. His recently formed PAC, will become a legal defense fund.
The only reason that Speaker Ryan is not the subject of a House Ethics Committee investigation at present, after his part in the Kevin Nunes White House affair, would defy rational discernment, if, one did not understand that it takes at least one member of the Republican Party in the House to initiate the process. One must remember that Comey refused to enter into a pledge of loyalty to Trump, Nunes and Ryan did not refuse. There are no Republican members of the House (the family) that are willing to put their country above their shrinking chances at re-election. Before the line of succession is called into action, it is necessary that both Ryan (of McCarthy off-the-record chatter fame), and our erstwhile Vice President Pence (the latter day Spiro Agnew), must for the good of the nation be removed from their respective offices, either by resignation or by the force of law.
The fourth in line of succession is Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. Although the following comment will be seen as rather esoteric, except to the hundred or so people this author is addressing, Rex Tillerson runs the State Department with the same reckless disregard for the precautionary principle as he did Exxon Mobile. And, there is a very good reason that Putin awarded Tillerson with the highest honor that can be bestowed on a non-Russian. Tillerson got it the old-fashioned way, he earned it in service to Mother Russia.
The seventh and tenth in the line of succession; Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, respectively, each bring a special disregard for the rule of law to the Trump administration. It is crystal clear that Jeff Sessions is the creature that the illiberal Bannon, adviser to the president, and admirer of Michael Greve,,wanted at the Department of Justice to assist in the destruction of the administrative state. This author finds it somewhat amazing that Bannon's ambition to dismantle the administrative state does not draw more attention than it does. The harm that Attorney General Sessions has already done to the notion of equal protection under law will take many years to correct, because there is no equal protection without equal enforcement. And, for all practical purposes, under Sessions (spurred on by the white supremacist Bannon) there will be no equal enforcement of the law. You can take Jeff Sessions out of Alabama, but you cannot take Alabama, out of Jeff Sessions.
The tenth in the line of succession, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, helped some of the president's men to profit from money operations trough a bank in Cyprus, while he served as a member of its board of directors. What the current investigation will tell us is whether or not the same bank, or other banks were used to facilitate Trump's partnership with the Revolutionary Guard of Iran in the property developments, Trump and his Iranian partners undertook in Azerbaijan. It's not just about all things Russian. Orrin Hatch was absent from the Inauguration and the subsequent Inauguration Day Festivities, on January 20, 2017. He had a very important role to assume that day. He was the designated survivor.
“Today, we observe a time-honored tradition of the world’s oldest democracy: the peaceful transition of power," A statement issued by the senator's office began. "This changing of the guard from one president to another is a defining feature of our Republic. At the request of President Donald Trump, I am honored to fulfill the role of designated presidential successor during the inauguration. As much as I would have liked to participate in the ceremony and festivities, I am honored to perform this important constitutional duty, which ensures the continuity of government.”
Senator Orrin Hatch, the designated survivor, was kept at a secure location on Inauguration Day.
No one can predict the future, and yet, no one will refute that the presidency is in turmoil.
Orrin Hatch may very well again, find himself in a position 'to ensure the continuity of our government'.
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The line of succession, according to the 2006 Act:
Vice President Mike Pence
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan
Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch*
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin
Secretary of Defense James Mattis
Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross
Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson