WASHINGTON – When President Donald Trump was hospitalized last week with COVID-19, the administration sought to assure Americans he was still fit to carry out his duties as president.

While he appears to be on the way to recovery, the outbreak that has engulfed the White House and infected more than a dozen staffers has sparked questions about whether other officials in the line of succession should be self-quarantining in case the president becomes incapacitated.

The people in line to take over the president’s duties if Trump were to become gravely ill are “not taking seriously their responsibilities as best we can tell under succession” regarding their health and safety, said political scientist Norman Ornstein with the American Enterprise Institute think tank.

Take these examples: The vice president is still traveling, and so is the secretary of state. A senior Republican senator in the line of succession won’t even get a COVID test, even though he was at a committee hearing with another senator who has tested positive.

Trump and other Republicans have come under fire for disregarding Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to slow the spread of the coronavirus, including social distancing and mask-wearing.

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