On the Wednesday, January 18 broadcast of CNN’s The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer aired a segment with a chyron featuring the headline “Developing Now.” During that “developing” segment, Blitzer and correspondent Brian Todd discussed what would happen if the unthinkable occurred on January 20.
Blitzer introduced the segment, saying, “What if an incoming president and his immediate successors were wiped out on day one?” and from there, CNN contributor Brian Todd took over to outline the line of succession if an attack blew up the inaugural dais, killing both Trump and Pence.
The upshot was that in the case of both heads of state being killed, the Secretary of State would take over. Currently that man is Secretary of State John Kerry, But in case some objected because his office would also end as of noon on Inauguration Day, then it would be the Speaker of the House — Republican Paul Ryan — or even Obama’s Under Secretary for Political Affairs Tom Shannon.
The report also noted that the designated survivor appointed by the Obama administration could also become president in the case of a disaster. So, in CNN’s analysis, most of the people who would take over in the worst-case scenario would keep the Obama administration in power, at least indirectly.
So while most of the country is looking to enjoy the day’s events and waiting expectantly to hear what our new president will have to say for his first address as our leader, CNN is wondering what will happen if he is assassinated.
Perhaps CNN is still stuck in anger, the second stage of grief.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.