With the current COVID-19 pandemic making its way through the doors of the White House and infecting not just the president and First Lady, but a whole host of other White House staffers. Although the severity of president Trump’s illness has not be made clear to the American public. Should he be incapacitated or worse, certain protocols are in place to ensure a line of succession.
The Founding Fathers of course knew that measures should be in place should something happen to the incumbent president, so it was written in the Constitution that should the sitting president resign, become incapacitated, debilitated or God forbid, die, the vice president becomes acting president.
However, a few crucial details were surprisingly absent, such as, who gets to make the decision that the president is no longer fit to serve? When and how should he return to office if he recovers. And lastly, if the vice president should continue as president for the rest of the term or until a replacement was found.
The tragic events of November 22, 1963 when JFK was assassinated in Dealey Plaza in Dallas would force Congress to pass the 25th Amendment, which would set out clear protocols for what happens if the president or vice president resigns, becomes incapacitated or disabled, or dies.
We of course wish the president a swift and speedy recovery but presidents falling ill or passing away are a part of American history and likely to be a part of future presidencies. Here we take a look at the times the commander-in-chief had to deal with medical issues or illness while still in office.