Holding down the fort

I learned from reading Power Line yesterday that John is on vacation in London. Like Steve, he is pursuing other interests in Europe. I am holding down the fort and reminded of then Secretary of State Alexander Haig’s statement at the press conference he held when President Reagan was shot in 1981:

Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the president, the vice president, and the secretary of state in that order, and should the president decide he wants to transfer the helm to the vice president, he will do so. He has not done that. As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending return of the vice president and in close touch with him. If something came up, I would check with him, of course.

Steve Hayward tells what transpired behind the scenes in chapter 4 of The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution, 1980-1989, published in 2009 and still in print. Steve writes: “Despite all the seeming chaos, Al Haig himself was the only person in the situation room confused about the chain of authority.”

Before long, Reagan sought Haig’s resignation. As Steve tells the story in chapter 6, Reagan wanted a Secretary of State more in tune with his policies than Haig was. “Strange to the end,” Steve writes, “Haig showed Reagan an envelope with his resignation letter but did not hand it over. He didn’t need to. Reagan promptly announced Haig’s resignation and in the same statement named George Shultz as his replacement[.]”

Gentlemen, I am not in control here. I am merely trying to hold your interest until Steve and John return to duty.

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