President Donald Trump, bringing along his ‘Nuclear Football” while taking his first outstation trip since the Capitol riots on Tuesday, has prodded Speaker Nancy Pelosi into asking some tough questions. After the riots last week, Pelosi told colleagues she contacted chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley about how to keep an ‘unhinged’ president from accessing the what was inside the briefcase.
So what is the ‘Nuclear Football’?
The nuclear football, also known as the president’s emergency satchel is a briefcase, the contents of which are to be used by the President of the United States to authorize nuclear attack while away from fixed command centers, such as the White House Situation Room. It functions as a mobile hub in the strategic defense system of the United States. It is held by an aide-de-camp.
Why is Nancy Pelosi concerned about the Football?
Nuclear command authority and the ‘Nuclear Football” are usually transferred to the new President during inauguration ceremonies. However, Donald Trump has expressed his hesitation in participating in Joe Biden’s inauguration, which could make the transfer of the special briefcase a lot more complicated than it is. She also raised concern over Trump ‘ordering a nuclear strike’ during his last few days in the office.
She raised the issue as she wrote colleagues to discuss how to proceed after the Capitol riots. Her caucus decided to go ahead with a historic second impeachment, with a vote set for Wednesday.
She headed her comment to colleagues: ‘Preventing an Unhinged President From Using the Nuclear Codes.’
“This morning, 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,” she informed them.
Notably, she did not reveal what response Milley provided, or whether any security guardrails have been established.
Trump maintains all of the powers of his office as commander in chief – although a series of resignations of cabinet chiefs and White House officials have deprived him of some of the advice and staff help he gets.