Who replaces Trump if he is unable to contest 2020 elections? Here's what you need to know
On October 2, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19 The news was confirmed by POTUS himself on Twitter. He wrote, “Tonight, FLOTUS, and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” Melanie also tweeted: "As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19. We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together."
Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020
As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19. We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together.— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) October 2, 2020
Trump was last seen in public on October 1 afternoon after he returned to the White House post a fundraising trip to New Jersey. CNN reported that he did not appear ill, though did not speak to reporters as he walked into his residence. In a memo issued to reporters around 1 am ET, the President's physician, Navy Commander Dr Sean Conley, as reported by CNN, wrote, "The President and First Lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence. The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country's greatest medical professionals and institutions. Conley did not elaborate on what assistance was being provided to the White House. “Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any further developments," he added.
After announcing the POTUS’ diagnosis, as per the report, the White House issued a new schedule to reflect several canceled events, including a fundraiser in Washington and a campaign rally in Florida.
Previously, we reported that Trump’s senior-most and closest White House aide, Hope Hicks, has tested positive for the Covid-19. Reports suggest that Hicks, who serves as counselor to Trump had been in close proximity to POTUS and had traveled with him to a rally in Minnesota on September 30 after which she tested positive on Thursday, October 1.
Now, the question that immediately crosses the mind is what happens to the remaining Presidential debates – one on October 15 and the other on October 22 – and also the election.
In May 2020, after Trump’s valet and Vice President Mike Pence’s spokesperson tested positive for the coronavirus, The Atlantic had done an article titled ‘The Very Real Problem of Both Trump and Pence Getting COVID-19 at the Same Time’. The article states that, “The potential for trouble is much lower if the president alone gets sick; the Twenty-Fifth Amendment could handle the situation smoothly. A president racked with pain and struggling to breathe could use Section 3 of the amendment to transfer power to the vice president. The president could then return to power whenever he declared himself able. If the president could not invoke Section 3 (say, if he were intubated and heavily sedated), the vice president and Cabinet could use Section 4 of the amendment to transfer power to the vice president. The president would retake power four days after declaring himself able, unless the vice president, Cabinet, and two-thirds of the House and Senate disagreed.”
As The New York Times notes, even if Trump is asymptomatic, he will have to step away from the campaign trail and stay isolated in the White House for an unknown period of time. And if he falls sick, it does raise questions about whether he should be on the ballot at all.
Only time will tell what happens to the US Elections and the remaining presidential debates. And, as soon as we get to know, we will update this space.