Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is intent on removing President Trump from office with less than two weeks to go before President-Elect Joe Biden assumes power. Pelosi has urged Trump’s impeachment saying that Vice President Mike Pence needs to remove Trump under the 25th Amendment.
Now, Pelosi has spoken with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley to prevent the president from launching nuclear weapons and starting a war in his final days in office.
“This morning [on Friday], I spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike,” Pelosi wrote in a released statement.
“The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy,” she added.
Army Colonel Dave Butler, a spokesman for General Milley, said in a brief statement: “Speaker Pelosi initiated a call with the Chairman. He answered her questions regarding the process of nuclear command authority.”
Pelosi’s statement notwithstanding, the President’s – any president’s – ability to launch nukes on a whim or due to being “unhinged” isn’t as easy as just pressing the “mythical red button,” as many citizens believe. There are protocols to follow.
The process that has to be followed in order to launch a nuclear strike is streamlined to be completed as quickly as possible so senior military officers can execute a decision that the president alone can make.
Air Force General John E. Hyten, the former commander of the U.S. nuclear forces, now the number two at the Pentagon under Milley, spoke about this scenario in 2017. In the situation of an illegal order by a president, Hyten said, there are protocols in place to stop that from happening.
“And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I’m going to say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up with options, of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated.”
The nuclear launch codes are carried in a black briefcase by a military officer everywhere the president goes. The briefcase is called “the football.” It allows the president to speak with the National Command Authority (NCA), with a sealed packet that contains authentication gold codes, nicknamed “the biscuit,” which certify to the NCA that the communication is coming straight from the president himself. This streamlines the process enabling quick action.
While Pelosi’s concerns about the President’s mental health could be warranted they also show an utter lack of understanding of how America’s nuclear arsenal is protected from use by a madman. The protocols in place were put there to prevent that very thing from ever happening. This isn’t North Korea.
But by going public with it — in essence trying to force public opinion to get the President out of office — she has created a problem for the country. Pelosi’s actions makes the country appear weak and disjointed. This is dangerous as it might encourage our enemies to make a move.
Retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Colin Powell was asked on the Today Show about this topic. He quickly downplayed talk of nuclear codes before Pelosi’s statement was released.
“I was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and I can tell you for sure that if something like this ever happened and someone suddenly said, ‘We want to use a nuclear weapon,’ they would never get near it.”
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer remain committed to the removal of the President in the final few days of his presidency. Pelosi urged GOP members to get on board with the removal.
“Nearly 50 years ago, after years of enabling their rogue president, Republicans in Congress finally told President Nixon that it was time to go. Today, following the President’s dangerous and seditious acts, Republicans in Congress need to follow that example and call on Trump to depart his office – immediately.”
She is intent on forcing the issue even if Republicans aren’t on board and Vice President Mike Pence doesn’t invoke the 25th Amendment.
“If the president does not leave office imminently and willingly, the Congress [sic] will proceed with our action.”