The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the physical health of President Donald Trump. He tweeted early Friday morning that he and Melania both tested positive for COVID-19, and he was flown to Walter Reed Naval Hospital on Friday afternoon.
By all reports that I have read, he is doing well even though there were some questionable moments. The latest news that I read had a picture of him in an SUV leaving the hospital to wave to his flag-waving supporters. From what I could tell, he was out of the hospital temporarily for the surprise for his supporters, but he may be released as early as Monday.
The question that came up is about succession of office if Trump is incapacitated or dies. The Constitution is clear that Trump’s term of office ends at noon on January 20, 2021, when the next President is sworn into office. According to Amendment 20, when a President dies or becomes incapacitated, the Vice President becomes the President and completes the term of office. If Trump were not able to fulfill his term of office, Pence would become President.
I do not know what would happen on January 20th, but I believe that Pence would become the President and choose his own Vice President if the Republicans received 270 electoral votes. If Joe Biden won the election, he would become the next President. There are some scenarios where it could get sticky – situations that have not happened previously. We can hope and pray that Trump gets well and then re-elected. That is the best scenario of all.