US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania have Corona. Learn what this means for the US government – and who would take power if Vice President Mike Pence was hit.
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To Positive corona test from US President Donald Trump many questions remain open. One of the most urgent: what will happen to the US government now – who is running the most powerful country in the world when the president is in quarantine, who might need treatment?
The quick answer was given Friday morning by Trump’s personal physician Sean Conley: he expected that despite his corona contamination, Trump could continue official affairs “without interruption.” In a statement, he said Trump and his wife Melania are doing well. The two would remain in the White House during their recovery.
“Rest assured that I expect the president to continue to perform his duties uninterrupted during his recovery,” Conley said in his letter.
The letter from Trump’s personal physician Sean Conley. (Source: Reuters)
He and the White House medical team would be vigilant. Conley made it clear that the president and first lady had the support of some of the country’s “greatest” medical experts and institutions.
Is Trump getting corona symptoms?
However, this view is only a snapshot at first. Whether Trump can actually continue to rule in the coming days will depend very much on whether the president of the United States is more suffering from the effects of a corona infection – or whether his illness is asymptomatic.
If the former happens, Trump may need to undergo clinical treatment like his British counterpart Boris Johnson, if most likely he would not be able to continue the official business. If so, Trump would temporarily delegate his government duties to his Vice President Mike Pence. Later, after a recovery, he would take back control.
The U.S. Constitution also provides for the event of a sudden deterioration in Trump’s medical condition. If Trump can no longer formally take over official affairs himself, for example because he has to be intubated, Pence can also take matters into his own hands with the approval of the cabinet.
“There is a protocol for everything”
In the highly unlikely event that both Trump and Pence would not be able to rule the country or even die, prepare theoretically, the majority leader in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (Democrats), would take over.
In practice, however, this step poses constitutional problems: in such a situation, Pelosi could not simply declare the president and his deputy incompetent. Courts would then have to decide quickly. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be clear who the president would be if Trump and Pence fail at the same time.
“There’s a protocol for everything,” said former adviser to Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, David Axelrod, to Bloomberg news magazine. At the same time, however, he also admitted, “We have routinely gone through the procedures for a terrorist attack or a nuclear attack, but frankly, we never expected a pandemic situation like the one in the White House today.”