After US President Donald Trump suggested postponing Presidential elections in his country due to the Coronavirus pandemic, a strange trend emerged on Twitter. The trending term was 'President Pelosi.' Nancy Pelosi is the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the US Congress. She was never in the running to be the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. Yet, this trend! Why?
The reason lies in the US Constitution. If for some reason, the President completes his term and there is no elected successor, then, as per the provision in the Constitution, the Speaker of the House assumes the office of the President, though not the title.
In the order of succession provided in the Constitution for an emergency situation where the President dies or is unable to perform his duties due to other reasons, the Speaker is second-in-line behind the Vice President.
However, if, in an unprecedented situation, the President runs out of his term without their being a successor, the Vice President would not be able to assume the office as his term is bound with that of the President. So, Mike Pence will have to vacate his office at the same time as Donald Trump.
So, if there are no election results by January 20 next year, Nancy Pelosi will become the chief executive of the country. This has led to many jocular comments and memes on Twitter.
The suggestion from Donald Trump to postpone the elections came through a tweet where he expressed his lack of confidence in the elections taking place through mailed votes. This method of voting is being considered seriously in order to keep social distancing in place in times of COVID-19.
"With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???" the US President wrote on Twitter.
However, this comment was not unexpected. President Trump's challenger in the upcoming elections, scheduled for November 3, Joe Biden had said earlier that he expects his rival to try and defer the elections. The suspicion is that the incumbent is unsure of his chances after trailing heavily in polls done by various agencies.
Can Trump postpone elections?
However, many legal experts believe that President Trump does not have the power to postpone elections. This, according to them, is the prerogative of the Congress. As of now, January 20 is the date given in the Constitution for the expiration of the President's term.
One wonders what is going on inside the mind of Nancy Pelosi. Obviously, she will oppose President Trump's proposition. She responded to the President's tweet by posting her own message.
"Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution states: 'The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.'" But who knows, she may be secretly hoping for exactly this to happen.