That would be the nuclear football, the one that a President of the United States can use to destroy all human life on the planet with by pushing some buttons. It turns out there is a second one, a backup, one that is kept near the backup President. That would be the Vice President.
So CNN has put out a report that Tyler Cowen has picked up on and put as one of his daily news stories on Marginal Revolution, although barely commented on and not getting much attention on most media. The story in fact sort of does not quite play up how serious it is. It focused on how people at DOD did not know how serious the situation was, without in fact playing up how serious it was.
The problem is that while there has been a lot of attention paid to how former President Trump continued to tweet negatively about his own VP, Mike Pence, even after hearing that Pence had been evacuated from the Senate chambers with a mob having entered the Capitol. Trump’s concern was how Pence had let him down by not engaging in an unconstitutional act to try not to recognize the certified state electoral college vote results. This tweet was read to the crowd outside, and the mob chanted over and over “Hang Mike Pence!” We have now all seen this.
But probably the most dangerous part of this whole episode, I mean even probably worse than that Trump might have overturned the election and turned the US into a lifetime dictatorship run by him, is that when the mob was within 100 feet of Pence, the backup nuclear football was with him, carried by a Secret Service agent.
Now, if the mob had been a bit faster and caught Pence, certainly that Secret Service agent would have resisted vigorously, probably to the extent of giving up his life. But if the mob had succeeded in obtaining that nuclear football, well, maybe there are limits on the ability of a random person getting that object that keep them from destroying all human life on this planet. But even short of that, there is no doubt that one of these people could have brought about very serious trouble. This story needs more reporting, not how mean Trump was not to stand up for his VP who was following the law to certify the electoral college votes that would bring about the end of Trujmp’s presidency.