What if Mr. Trump develops symptoms?
If Mr. Trump develops the symptoms of Covid-19, his best care will be available, and the White House is well-equipped to carry out most of his work from the presidency. However, there is still the possibility that the president could become seriously ill from the virus.
The US Constitution provides for such a scenario. Under Article 34 of the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, Mr. Trump may declare in writing his inability to perform his duties. In that case, Mr. Pence would be acting president.
Mr. Trump will have to declare his fitness to reopen office in writing to regain his power.
If Mr. Trump becomes incompetent, Article 4 of the 25th Amendment allows the vice president and a majority in the cabinet to inform congressional leaders that the president is “incompetent in his office.” In that case, Mr. Pence will take over as acting president.
To reopen the office, Mr. Trump must inform Capitol Hill leaders that he is fit and able to resume his duties, and that Congress will then vote on the issue.
If two-thirds of both chambers vote that the president is incapable of carrying out his duties, the vice president remains as acting president until after the next presidential election – which is the case on November 3.
On Friday morning, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, both tested negative for Covid-19.
White House spokesman Devin O’Malley tweeted the news that the White House was trying to work out how the virus had spread so widely at the top of the U.S. government.
This news assures that Mr. Pence is due to the virus. He will be able to take action if Trump is forced to step down.
If Mr. Pence falls ill, Congress may enact the 194 Pres Presidential Succession Act, which puts the Speaker of the House of Representatives next to the successor, followed by Senate presidential supporters Tempore and cabinet members.
The current speaker of the House is Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, which means the White House will be controlled by a separate party without an election.
However, the rules are not clear and any move to hand over power to Mrs Pelosi could lead to legal challenges, possibly leaving the country in a state of stagnation for several weeks.