Political science experts call timing of White House COVID-19 cases ‘unprecedented’

Election

The White House is carrying out contact tracing after President Donald Trump and his wife Melania tested positive for Covid-19, a spokesman said Friday. “Contact tracing is being done and the appropriate notifications and recommendations will be made,” deputy press secretary Judd Deere said. Trump met with dozens of people through the week and reportedly went to a fundraiser in New Jersey after it was known that a close aide, Hope Hicks, had tested positive. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Election Day is just over a month away and historians agree, the circumstances surrounding the 2020 election are highly unusual.

It’s unclear what lies ahead on the campaign trail after President Donald Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 Thursday and transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Friday.

In any situation where the president is physically unable to perform his duties, like during medical procedures for Presidents Ronald Reagen and George W. Bush, presidents can evoke the 25th amendment, temporarily signing duties over to the vice president. Vanderbilt History Professor, Thomas Schwartz, explained why 2020 marks unchartered territory.

“Certainly, the fact that the coronavirus was at the central issue of the campaign then the president comes down with it, that’s already there. But the fact that the president being medically questioned so close to the election is fairly unprecedented in recent American history,” Schwartz said. “We’ve had situations where presidents and vice presidents have died in office and near elections, but this is something wholly new in modern times.”

Schwartz also notes if President Trumps condition worsens or incapacitates him, that could lead to Mike Pence taking his place as the presidential candidate.

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