Trump tests positive: US Vice President Mike Pence tests negative for coronavirus

WION Web Team
Washington Published: Oct 02, 2020, 05:55 PM(IST)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) with ?Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Photograph:( Getty )

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Trump could temporarily hand over power to his vice president should he become incapacitated. Under Section 3 of the US Constitution's 25th Amendment, adopted in 1967 following the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, Trump could declare in writing his inability to discharge his duties as US President.

Just hours after it was announced that US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania had contacted coronavirus, Vice-President Mike Pence office said that he and the Second Lady Karen Pence had tested negative for COVID-19. 

"Vice President Pence remains in good health and wishes the Trumps well in their recovery," the statement said.

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China hopes US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania will soon recover after testing positive for the coronavirus, a foreign ministry spokesperson told Reuters on Friday.

Meanwhile, Melania Trump said she was "feeling good" and "hoping for speedy recovery".

Trump could temporarily hand over power to his vice president should he become incapacitated. Under Section 3 of the US Constitution's 25th Amendment, adopted in 1967 following the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, Trump could declare in writing his inability to discharge his duties as US President. Pence would then assume charge as "acting president".

Also Read: Internet explodes with memes after Trump, who called COVID-19 a 'hoax', tests positive

Trump would regain his powers by declaring in writing again that he is again ready to discharge his duties.

There is also a historical precedent for such a move although only for a short period of times. On June 29, 2002, the then President George W. Bush invoked Section 3, temporarily transferring his powers to Vice President Dick Cheney before undergoing a colonoscopy. Cheney was acting president from 7:09 a.m. to 9:24 a.m. George W. Bush invoked Section 3 once again before another colonoscopy. Cheney was acting president from 7:16 a.m. to 9:21 a.m.

However, Section 4 of the US Constitution is much tougher under which the vice president and a majority of either Cabinet officials or “such other body as Congress may by law provide” can inform leaders in the two houses of Congress that the president “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office”.

In such a case, the vice president takes over as acting president.

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