After Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye (D), who was third in the line of succession as president pro tempore of the Senate, died on Monday, concerns about the health of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is fourth in the line of succession, became even more important — and relevant.
On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden swore in Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) as president pro tempore of the Senate and he now, as the Senate’s most senior member, is third in the line of succession to the presidency.
Clinton, who is fourth in line, is recovering from a concussion she suffered last week when she fell after a stomach virus left her dehydrated.
The State Department revealed Clinton’s medical condition on Saturday. As a result of her ill health and concussion, Clinton will not be testifying this week, as she had been scheduled to, when the House and Senate hold hearings about Benghazi and Clinton’s actions — or lack thereof — in the months leading up to the terrorists attacks that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.
Clinton told Barbara Walters in an interview taped before she suffered her concussion that she was “not only healthy” but had “incredible stamina and energy.”
A State Department official on Monday, though, said Clinton suffered the concussion early last week when she fell after being dehydrated due to a stomach virus, but the concussion was diagnosed on Thursday.
When reporters asked State Department spokesperson Philippe Reines on that Thursday to provide more details about Clinton’s medical condition after she had cancelled a pre-planned trip to Morocco earlier in the week, Reines simply told reporters that “she had seen her doctors and was home,” without providing additional details.
A neurologist told ABC News that the “most important thing is for” Clinton “to get rest. No e-mails. No working.”
However, State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland on Monday said Clinton has the completed Independent Advisory Review Board’s Benghazi review and report.
“She now has it,” Nuland told reporters on Monday of the report that will be released to members of Congress this week.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), who defeated Republican Christine O’Donnell in 2010, had been, as the Senate’s presiding officer, third in the line of succession until Biden had sworn in Leahy, since the Senate had not adjourned when Inouye died.