What would Donald Trump do if he were a nuclear emergency action officer on duty today at the war room in the Pentagon (the National Military Command Center) or its alternates, and a nuclear emergency erupted that required the President to be summoned by phone to consult with his top nuclear advisors about a possible response using nuclear weapons? Normally, a duty officer in this hot seat would summon and ask the individual on the line to ‘authenticate’ using the special gold codes given the President by the National Security Agency, in order to prove that it is indeed the Commander-in-Chief with authority to unleash U.S. nuclear forces on the other end of the line.
If such duty officers cannot reach the President (or if the President has misplaced his codes!), they go through a drill of speed-dialing through the chain of presidential succession (the Vice President, Speaker of the House, Senate pro tempore, Secretary of State, Treasury, Defense and the rest of the Cabinet secretaries in order of the creation of their departments) in order to establish contact with one of the President’s successors.
On certain occasions in the past during nuclear exercises, the officers (gleefully) skipped over successor positions occupied by certain individuals born (or believed to be born) outside the United States – such as Secretary of State Madeline Albright – on the reasonable grounds that they were ineligible to succeed to the Presidency. (By all rights, however, a sitting President could pre-delegate his nuclear launch powers to any American official he so wished.)
If the Donald (imagine the buzz cut and star-studded epaulet) did connect with Mr. Obama, would he proceed to ask him to authenticate, or instruct him to pass the phone to the Vice-President? What if the VP protested and the Speaker were unavailable, forcing the Donald to skip down to the Senate pro tempore, the son of Kame (née Imanaga) and Hyotaro Inouye (pronounced /ɨˈnoʊweɪ/, Japanese: 井上 建), a Nisei Japanese-American (an American-born child of Japanese immigrants) (supposedly) born in Hawaii and grew up in a Chinese-American enclave within the predominantly Japanese-American community of Mo’ili’ili in Honolulu who went on to win the Medal of Honor for valor during World War II.
What then? Would the Donald ask him to fax over an original copy of his birth certificate, or just skip on down the line?