OMG!Cancel everything!The President's spotty!

Poor old me is suffering from a horrible illness.Fortunately it went down enough for me to tootle off to work-luckily since it was my first day.Got me thinking.What would happen if there was some major event like a Coronation or Presidential inauguration and for example the person involved wakes up with the measles. They can’t let him attend as he’s contagious.But the sheer scale of the ceremony, the cost of the camera crews and news time would surely mean it would be vastly expensive to cancel and reschedule everyone.How would they cope?

I know in 1902 when Edward VII got appendicitis,they cancelled the Coronation and the food was given out to the poor. But that was over a month before the ceremony and the costs would not be nearly so much as they are now…

I’d imagine it depends on the administration. I know this is GD, but in my humble opinion, the Bush Administration would have “postponed the ceremony to stave off any chance of a terrorist attack.” A democratic White House would use an excuse like, “the President must attend an emergency summit overseas. The ceremony is postponed until further notice.”

The money lost from the cancelled ceremony isn’t really an issue.


They just do it, probably after seeing their doctor. Back in the Eighties, the elder George Bush threw up in the lap of the Japanese prime minister (IIRC). The explanation was that he was suffering from a stomach virus.

I’d have thought that with the case above, it would be pretty obvious what the reason was and wouldn’t look good if they issued another response.

‘You say the President has to attend an emergency summit…would this have anything to do with the nasty red spots all over him’.

GQ, not GD. That’s what happens when you spend all morning on the SDMB. :smack:


President Kennedy famously pretended to have the flu so he could bail out of a meeting in Chicago with mayor Daly during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I’m sure plenty of presidents have attended functions while not feeling well.

Huh. I was looking at the 25th Amendment and damn if lemon_martini2 hasn’t found a flaw in the system. Initially I was going to say that if the President-elect was unable to be sworn in because of illness the Vice-President-elect would still be sworn and would then become Acting President. However, the wording of the amendment makes no provision for the failure of a President-elect to take the oath of office. The plain wording of the amendment clearly applies only in the case of a sitting president, not a president-elect.

Not that I think any illness short of an actual coma would keep a president-elect from taking the oath, but were it to happen, realistically, the new VP would probably become Acting President until the president-elect’s sniffles or whatever cleared up and no one would challenge it.

If it were the President’s own swearing in, I assume they’d have a private ceremony to make him officially President and perhaps later have a public ceremony. They’d only have to find a judge who’d arelady had the measles willing to go into his sick room and do it. There is no requirement that the Chief Justice swear in the President or that it be done in public. There is a famous picture of Lyndon Johnson being sworn in as President on board the plane back to DC after Kennedy’s assassination. As I recall he was sworn in by his father-in-law or somethign like that.

I’m quite sure it the President were so sick he could not be sworn in, the Vice President elect would become acting President on the grounds that the President was unable to discharge … his duties. There is precedent that the ooutgoing President does not remain President simply because the new President hasn’t been sworn in. I don’t recall which one, but one President declined to be sworn in on Sunday January 20th (or perhaps long enough ago when the swearing in date was March) due to religious convictions. This left us with a temporary President – the Secretary of State-- for that one day.

Now the intersting question is that the VP must get a majority of the Cabinet (I’m pretty sure that’s the “principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body” that Congress designated by law) to agree. I assume this would have to be the outgoing Cabinet since the new Cabinet members would clearly not have been ratified yet even if they’d been picked. I sure hope all the old Cabinet hadn’t tendered resignations or we’d be stuck.

Lyndon Johnson was sworn in on Air Force One by Federal judge Sarah T. Hughes, who most assuredly was not his father-in-law.

Calvin Coolidge was sworn in by his father, who held a legal office of some type (like justice of the peace or notary public) in 1923. Some doubted the validity of that, so he was sworn in again when he got back to Washington.

There are a few other inaccuracies in OldGuy’s post.

The president who refused to be sworn in on Sunday was Zachary Taylor in 1849. So the president pro tem of the senate, David Atchison, told people that he was the acting president for March 4, 1849, but Cecil has debunked this.

The president-elect would have to be awfully sick to not take the oath. If he just had the measles, I’m sure they would just put him in a hospital room and bring in some cameras and do it there. If he were comatose, that would be a problem and the VP would get sworn and be the acting president.

Franklin Pierce’s VP, William King, was seriously ill with tuberculosis and he went to Cuba to try to get well and even got Congress to grant him permission to be sworn in there, but he died in Cuba about a month later, and never got back to Washington to preside over the Senate.

So, did David Atchinson take the Oath? If one concludes that Zachary Taylor was not president on that day because he had not taken the Oath, then one must also conclude that neither was Atchinson President, and for the same reason. One might logically conclude that the previous president remained in office for an extra day, or one might conclude that Taylor became president a day before he was sworn in, or one might conclude that for that day, the United States had no president. But one cannot logically conclude that David Atchinson was President for that day.

Wouldn’t that be President Kerry … does Bush have to have it renewed? (going on the theory that he was vaildly elected/serving in the first place)

Atchison did not take the oath of office according to every source I checked.

The Master speaks on this here:

Yes, if elected Bush would need to take the oath again. His term expires at 12:00 noon EST January 20, 2005 per the 20th Amendment. His oath taken January 20, 2001 expires at that time as well.