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Trump may be removed from election ballot if he gets too ill and Pence can be the candidate, suggest rules

The Republican National Committee is empowered to fill a party presidential nominee vacancy, which may occur because of declination or death
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Vice President Mike Pence could replace President Donald Trump on the election ballot if the Republican leader becomes incapacitated from Covid-19. Ever since Trump announced his and the first lady's Covid-19 positive diagnosis on Thursday, October 1, there are increasing concerns over the 74-year-old becoming seriously ill or requiring hospitalization. If Trump becomes gravely ill, the current 2020 presidential election process will be skewed. 

The Republican National Committee (RNC), under its rules, is empowered to fill a party presidential nominee vacancy, which may occur because of declination or death. In an effort to fill such vacancies, the RNC can also convene a national convention, where all 168 of its members would be required to meet and vote on the replacement. According to the rules, three members from each state and three from six territories cast the same number of votes they were entitled to cast at the national convention.

(Getty Images)

Pence or another candidate can then be chosen to replace Trump on the ballot paper if the latter's situation becomes worse. It is also being speculated that Trump could hand over power temporarily to his vice president should he become incapacitated, for example, while undergoing a medical procedure as coronavirus treatment. In order to do so, the president, under the Constitution's 25th Amendment, will have to declare in writing his inability to discharge presidential duties.

It is only after the writing that Pence would become acting president. Trump, meanwhile, would continue to remain in office. After the president feels they are ready to assume the position again, they can regain the power by declaring in writing that they are ready to discharge the presidential duties again. However, if Pence also fails to discharge his duties, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, would be next in line for the presidency.

Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the novel coronavirus, Press Secretary Devin O'Malley announced on Friday morning, October 2. The announcement was made hours after President Trump announced that he and the First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for Covid-19. White House adviser Hope Hicks has also confirmed that she has tested positive for the virus. O'Malley, in a tweet, wrote: "As has been routine for months, Vice President Pence is tested for Covid-19 every day. This morning, Vice President Pence and the Second Lady tested negative for Covid-19. Vice President Pence remains in good health and wishes the Trumps well in their recovery."


Hours before Trump and the first lady tested positive for Covid-19, the president had addressed the nation in a "raspy" voice, stating that the end of the novel coronavirus pandemic was "in sight." Trump, during the annual AI Smith dinner on Thursday, October 1, had said: "Through advances in treatment, we have reduced the fatality rate by 85 percent since just April." The event, this year, was held online as a precautionary measure considering the pandemic.

"We're on track to develop and distribute our vaccine before the end of the year, maybe substantially before. And I just want to say that the end of the pandemic is in sight," the president had said at the event. However, within hours, the first couple confirmed that they had tested positive for Covid-19 and that they would quarantine together.