The law provides that it is Mike Pence, as vice president, who replaces Trump in case of disability. Next, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
Donald Trump is hospitalized serving quarantine. The US president has mild symptoms after testing positive for coronavirus, but his doctor says he is in good spirits. The Republican is 74 years old and weighs 110 kilos, so his age and overweight can increase risk factors in the evolution of his diagnosis, according to scientific evidence. In the hypothetical case that he fell seriously ill, Vice President Mike Pence, 61, would have to assume the leadership of the United States in injury time from the reelection race. In the least likely scenario, in which Pence is also incapacitated, the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, 80, would become the first female president of the United States.
In the world’s oldest democracy, presidents have been assassinated, others have died of natural causes, and some have suffered from severe illnesses while in office, such as George Washington and Woodrow Wilson. For all cases, the Constitution establishes an action plan. The 25th amendment details that if a president is unable to fulfill his duties, his number two must fill the vacancy. The members of the Cabinet are the ones who determine when a president cannot exercise his functions, unless he himself recognizes it. In the event that the vice president is also incapacitated, either due to illness or because the secretaries of state so determine, it is necessary to resort to the Law of Succession.
In current US politics, if Trump and Pence are disbarred, by law the leader of the House of Representatives must assume. That would unexpectedly lead to Pelosi taking over the helm. “This is tragic, it’s very sad, but it also happens because of being with the crowd, not wearing a mask, and everything else. It was a kind of blatant invitation for this to happen, “said Pelosi this Friday after hearing the news. In the event that she is unable or unwilling to hold office, then it falls to the president of the Senate, which is occupied by 87-year-old Republican Charles E. Grassley. The Iowa representative said the test will not be done. “Senator Grassley will continue to follow the recommendations of the Senate physician, the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) and local health officials,” said a spokesman.
Until 1947, after the president and vice president came the members of the Cabinet, beginning with the secretary of state. But when Franklin Roosevelt died early in his fourth term, Congress added legislators to the chain, arguing that the presidency and vice presidency should be positions held by elected officials by popular vote.
In the 1970s, it happened for the first time in the bicentennial American constitutional history that a politician who had not been elected by popular vote for president or vice president, reached the White House. Richard Nixon named Gerald R. Ford his number two after Spiro Agnew, accused of tax evasion, resigned from the vice presidency. In less than a year, Nixon resigned from the Oval Office mired in the Watergate affair and Ford, for whom no American had ever voted for the most senior post in the West, was sworn in as president.
Pence’s team reported this Friday that he tested negative for coronavirus. The 61-year-old politician, born and raised in Columbus, Indiana, defines himself as “a Christian, a Conservative and a Republican,” in that order. Before he became Trump’s ticket buddy in 2016, he had been governor of his state for three years. A Catholic converted to evangelism, he has been married for 25 years to Karen Pence, a college teacher he met when he played guitar in church. They are the parents of three children. Many see the vice president as the antagonistic figure of Trump, necessary to monopolize the most conservative bases of the Republican Party.
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