UK professor talks ‘transfer of power protocol’ if Trump can’t fulfill duties

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – What would happen if President Donald Trump can’t fulfill his duties due to the coronavirus?

University of Kentucky political science professor and presidential expert Richard Waterman says a transfer of power would likely happen in that case.

Waterman says under the 25th amendment, the president has authority to transfer power to the Vice President.

It was created in 1967 after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Since then, Waterman says it’s been used a few times, but mostly for short periods of time during surgeries. He says the most memorable is probably when President Ronald Reagan transferred power while he was hospitalized after being shot.

But even then, Waterman says there was a sense of calm, especially from President Reagan as he made jokes from his hospital bed.

Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, he says a transfer of power could signal a dire situation.

“It would be major anxiety if that were to occur,” says Waterman. “I think there’s also probably anxiety right now simply because the president has in the past said that the coronavirus is going to go away, it’s not a real problem.”

Waterman stresses a transfer of power is unlikely at this point, but says he hopes this sends a message to those not following CDC guidelines.

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