This is one of my pet peeves.
In a moment reminiscent of Reagan Secretary of State Alexander Haig‘s “I’m in charge here” moment, new Donald Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway appeared to diminish the role of Breitbart News chairman and Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon Sunday morning in an interview with Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace.
And what was “Alexander Haig‘s “I’m in charge here” moment?”
The conventional wisdom/zombie lie version is that Al Haig thought he was running the country after Reagan was shot. That’s bullshit.
Here’s the full quote:
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.
Does that sound like a guy who thinks he is the acting POTUS? Haig was a retired general, and he understood the chain of command. He was simply stating that he was the senior administration official present at the White House.
I remember that day. I remember that press conference. My BIL and I were sitting in his living room getting high when the news came on. There was never any doubt in my mind what Haig meant.
I wasn’t talking about transition. I was talking about the executive branch, who is running the government. That was the question asked. It was not, “Who is in line should the President die?”
— Alexander Haig, Alexander Haig interview with 60 Minutes II April 23, 2001
Full discosure: When I was stationed in Germany General Haig was my boss (he was NATO Commander) but I never saw him.