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The line of succession

If Donald Trump leaves the power, Vice President Pence or Paul Ryan could replace him.
Photo: AP
18/06/2017
03:24
Chicago, Illinois
Antonio Rosas-Landa
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Recent events have surpassed the plots of political series such as House of Cards, according to their own writers, and perhaps it is time to review the mechanisms of presidential succession in the United States.

If current President Donald Trump leaves the power, it would be Vice President Mike Pence who would be in charge. This was the case when Vice President Gerald Ford took office after Richard Nixon's fall in 1974.

Who is Mike Pence and what presidency could he lead? Pence was governor of Indiana before joining Trump. He is an ideological conservative who governed his state under classic Republican principles: he lowered taxes, promoted employment and invested in education. But he also signed a law that legalized discrimination against homosexuals. Pence is a traditional politician with whom the Republican legislative majorities could work, for he is predictable and bounded by his moral and religious positions.

In recent days, Pence hired a law firm to advise him on the investigations faced by the administration and himself. If Pence does not become president, the next in line is House Speaker Paul Ryan. The former vice presidential candidate, 47 years old, who represented the state of Wisconsin, was a Republican promise, even before Trump. He has a purist take on public finances which could restructure the fiscal chaos.

Ryan devised plans to reconstitute the welfare programs that have led us to bankruptcy because while you read these lines the US national debt is reaching $20 trillion dollars.

The next in line is 83-year-old President of the Senate, Orrin Hatch, who is a conservative moralist from the old school, closer to retirement than to the White House.

According to the law, Cabinet members are still in line, but as this country was designed so that the President does not appoint his own successor, and as they owe Trump their job, they are unlikely to come to power. The reasonable thing is that if Trump leaves, Vice President Pence and Paul Ryan would replace him.

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