As an avalanche of criticism rocks the White House, relentlessly imperiling the Trump administration, possibilities heretofore unnoticed spring to the fore. One such is that the next president of the United States will be neither Joseph Biden nor Elizabeth Warren nor Kamala Harris.

The next president could be Nancy Pelosi.

In recent months, Donald Trump has engaged in secret, partisan negotiations with Ukraine, Australia, Italy and other nations that not only are grossly unethical, but strikingly illegal.  Evidently participating in this nefariousness as “enablers” were Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and, most significantly, Vice President Mike Pence.

If Trump is removed from office as a result of this scandal, it would be absurd and obnoxious for him to be succeeded by a co-conspirator. If Trump goes, so, probably, must Pence.

A comparison with the travails of the Richard Nixon administration is instructive. Nixon’s first vice president, former Maryland Governor Spiro T. Agnew, pled “nolo contendere” to charges of bribery and tax evasion on October 10, 1973, and resigned from office. While coincident in time, this malfeasance had no interaction with Watergate whatsoever.

Per the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1967 in the aftermath of the assassination of President Kennedy, Nixon appointed Michigan Congressman Gerald R. Ford to replace Agnew. As Ford was completely untainted by Watergate, his accession to the presidency upon the resignation of Nixon on August 9, 1974, essentially was without controversy. Ford then appointed former New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller to succeed him as vice president.

As the Trump administration is in utter chaos, firm predictions as to its ultimate fate would be foolhardy. But if Pence is indeed a co-conspirator in crimes that cause the removal of Trump, he would never receive — nor would he deserve — the consideration granted to Ford.

In the absence of Pence, next in line to the presidency would be Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives. A native of Maryland, Pelosi is the daughter of Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., who served both as a congressman and as mayor of Baltimore.  

First elected to the House in 1987, Pelosi has been reelected 16 times and won her last campaign with 86.8% of the vote. She is the first woman Speaker in history and would be the first woman president.

It must be noted, however, that Pelosi is now 79 years old and will turn 80 on March 26th. Were she to become president within the next few months and then run for a full term in November of 2020, she would be 84 at the end of that term, far and away the oldest president ever.  Certainly, this could be a matter of great concern and controversy. When it rains, it pours.


Joseph Tipler


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(2) comments


It should be no concern at all. There are well exercised rules in place to smoothly continue running the government if a president dies. The day this republic depends on the person in the Oval Office for its survival, the republic is already lost.


Good letter. I can imagine there will be a response that you make the argument for why Trump should not be impeached. For people who don't like Pelosi, however, and fear this possible outcome, they should hope if another person like Trump comes along, the Electoral College will prevent the election of such a person. I point you to The Federalist Paper #68 written by Alexander Hamilton on the purpose of the Electoral College.

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