What if Mr. Trump has symptoms?
If Mr. Trump develops symptoms of Covid-19, he will receive the best care available and the White House is well equipped for the president to do much of his work out of isolation. However, the president could still become seriously ill from the virus.
The United States Constitution makes provisions for such a scenario. Under Section 3 of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, Trump can declare in writing that he is unable to perform his duties. In that case, Pence would become the acting president.
Mr Trump will then need to declare fit to resume his post in writing in order to regain his powers.
If Mr. Trump becomes incapacitated, Section 4 of the 25th Amendment allows the Vice President and a majority of cabinet members to inform leaders in Congress that the President is “incapable of carrying out the powers and duties of office.” In such event, Mr. Pence would assume the office of Acting President.
In order to resume office, Mr. Trump will need to inform commanders on Capitol Hill that he is fit and able to resume and Congress will then vote on the issue.
If two-thirds of both chambers vote that the president is incapable of performing his duties, the vice president remains in office until the next presidential election – in this scenario on November 3.
US Vice President Mike Pence, and his wife Karen Pence, tested negative for Covid-19 Friday morning.
His spokesman Devin O’Malley spread the news on Twitter as the White House tries to find out how far the virus has spread at the head of the US government.
The news provides reassurance that Pence will be able to intervene if Trump is forced to step back from his duties due to the virus.
If Mr Pence falls ill, Congress could enact the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 that puts the next House Speaker in the line of succession, followed by the interim President of the Senate and then the members of the Cabinet.
The current speaker of the House of Representatives is Nancy Pelosi, who is a Democrat, which means the White House will be under the control of a different party without elections.
However, the rules are far from clear, and any move to transfer power to Ms. Pelosi is likely to lead to legal challenges, which could leave the country in limbo for several weeks.
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