General Question

2davidc8's avatar

What would happen if Trump dies two weeks before the election?

Asked by 2davidc8 (10047points) October 3rd, 2020
25 responses
“Great Question” (5points)

Does Pence automatically become the Republican candidate for president? Who’ll be the vice-presidential candidate?

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ragingloli's avatar

I read that the RNC has to convene and nominate a candidate.

Pandora's avatar

As @ragingloli mentioned. But being it would call for the 25th amendment to take place and Pence would automatically become President, they would probably vote to nominate him as a candidate, and then he has to quickly pick a running mate. A vote for Trump would probably still mean a vote for Pence. It would be risky for them to change the whole ticket by choosing someone else. But then you have to go thought the electoral votes and verification of the votes by the new Congress in January. So it can go so many ways.

kritiper's avatar

Pence becomes president and the nominee for the next four years.

jca2's avatar

Pence becomes President and my guess is that people that might have voted for Trump might not necessarily vote for Pence, so the RNC picks a new candidate and maybe the election would be postponed? Good question.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The election could only be postponed if both House and Senate agree to that, House would probably not agree to a later election.

Most states have printed ballots (no time to reprint) and some have started to receive mail-in ballots.

Pence would become President, if the GOP wins and Pence would appoint a VP like Nixon did when Agnew left.

chyna's avatar

I think Pence would step in, but I don’t know who would step in as VP. Who stepped in as VP when Johnson stepped in as president for Kennedy?

Darth_Algar's avatar

Pence becomes the President, at least through Inauguration Day (January 20th). As for the election – I would imagine that all votes caste for Trump would automatically go to whomever the Republican pick is to replace him as candidate. But that’s just my guess. I’m not sure there’s any precedent for this sort of thing.

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Brian1946's avatar


“Who stepped in as VP when Johnson stepped in as president for Kennedy?”

My guess is that the Speaker of the House (Sam Rayburn?) became the acting VP.
I could be wrong, though, so it’s Wiki time for Bri.

Wrong- Rayburn died in 1961. It was John McCormack.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Brian1946 I had to look it up, there was no provision for appointing a VP until the 25th Amendment was ratified in 1967, There was no VP under LBJ until Hubert Humphrey and LBJ were elected in 1964.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Yeah, prior to the 25th the Vice President was often viewed as a sorta extraneous office with little importance. Hell, FDR changed his more often than he changed underwear and he hardly ever met with his. I believe he met with Truman, his final VP, exactly once, for like 5 minutes.

jca2's avatar

So it would be Pence as President and Pelosi as VP?

Then, running for election for the Repubs would be whom? There’s no ballot with Pence in the Presidential slot.

SEKA's avatar

I don’t think that the VP is required to be of the same party, so Nancy Pelosi would be the interim VP until they could determine what to do. Maybe trump could be voted in with Pence immediately taking over the office since trump would be unable to assume the duties of the office

filmfann's avatar

Pelosi is 2nd in line of succession, but she would not automatically become vice president.
Pence would be the president for the remainder of this term.
The GOP would have to pick the new nominee, which could be Pence, though I doubt it. My guess would be Chris Christie or Rudy Giuliani, may God have mercy on our souls!

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JLeslie's avatar

Pelosi doesn’t become the VP as far as I know. I’ve never heard of the Speaker automatically moving up to the VP spot. The VP is chosen by the President. I don’t think the President has to fill the VP spot, but he/she can. The Speaker is simply the next in line if something happens to the President and VP.

I think the idea probably was to make sure the country didn’t have a catastrophe after what must have already have been a catastrophe if both the P and VP are unable to do their duties. After the Speaker, if let’s say the Speaker was unable to perform the duty of President also, comes Cabinet Members. The succession is planned out for like 10 or 15 people in order, I don’t remember, so the country would not be without a leader.

Strauss's avatar

If Trump dies two weeks before the election, he would be replaced as President by Pence, at least until Inauguration Day.

As far as the election, if a Presidential nominee dies or is incapacitated, it is up to the party to deal with it.

Darth_Algar's avatar


The Speaker of the House is second in the line of succession to the Presidency, but there is no line of succession for the Vice Presidency. Pence would be free to select his own VP.

Jeruba's avatar

Don’t exclude the possibility that some number of people—probably on both sides—would think such an announcement was a hoax. There’s that whole line of potential conflict and confusion to consider.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if the hoax-believers in both camps made common cause for the sake of establishing a fact? Although I’ve had enough of “interesting” to last a long while.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Darth_Algar The VP when s/he succeeds the President is “Acting President”, don’t think they can appoint a VP as “Acting President”.

Strauss's avatar

@Tropical_Willie There’s no “acting” about it.

Amendment XXV Section 1:
In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
(Emphasis added)

Amendment XXV Section 2
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

So the VP becomes the President and appoints a VP, subject to Congressional approval.

Darth_Algar's avatar


I guess it’s a good thing that I didn’t say anything about appointing an “Acting President” then.

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