I've seen silly suggestions that Obama should resign as of today or tomorrow, allowing Biden to be sworn in as the 45th President and bumping Trump to the 46th.

Obama isn't likely to do this, and it would certainly cause a lot of protests from Trump and other Republicans, but it would be Constitutionally allowed. But is it practical? If Obama resigned today, would there be time to arrange to swear in Biden?

  • 4
    What would be the point of doing this ? Is there another consequence than making the number of Trump 46 instead of 45 ? Jan 19, 2017 at 1:25
  • 5
    Johnson took the oath of office just 2 hours after Kennedy was shot. There's no reason to think there wouldn't be time to do it.
    – J Doe
    Jan 19, 2017 at 1:27
  • 6
    The point would be to ruin all of Trump's merchandise that already labeled him as the 45th POTUS, as was explained in the linked article. And, obviously, Biden would get to be commemorated as the 45th POTUS in the future. So, as one Facebook meme I read said, "Drama".
    – J Doe
    Jan 19, 2017 at 1:29
  • 2
    "The point would be to ruin all of Trump's merchandise that already labeled him as the 45th POTUS" That's incredibly childish. I can't imagine Obama doing anything like that.
    – Joël
    Jan 19, 2017 at 3:41
  • 2
    @indigochild Diogenes the Cynic responded to Zeno's paradox by silently walking form A to B. Could Trump do the same? He could, but the danger for him is that he might want to answer to each new president with a tweet which would take an infinite amount of time. Yes, the plan could work.
    – Joël
    Jan 19, 2017 at 4:24

1 Answer 1


Coolidge was sworn in by their own father (who was a notary public).

Having found this form in the Constitution, I had it set up on the typewriter, and the oath was administered by my father in his capacity as a notary public, an office he had held for a great many years.

(Coolidge, Calvin, The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge (1929); Sann, Paul, The Lawless Decade (1957). Cited from here)

Finding a qualified Notary Public in Washington, DC doesn't seem like an insurmountable obstacle even on short notice.

As such, all you need to swear in a new President legally is somone who can take an Oath from them, SCOTUS isn't needed.

If it takes longer than 5 minutes, I'd be surprised (You need to say the Oath of Office, then say you're resigning).

So theoretically, if everyone cooperates, you can go through not only Biden, but 288 different chain of command Presidents in a day.

  • @indigochild - were you replying before or after my edit?
    – user4012
    Jan 19, 2017 at 4:28
  • 5
    Coolidge is (are) plural? Jan 19, 2017 at 7:14
  • 1
    Once this hits the bottom of the line of succession, it slows down since any further successors would have to be confirmed by the Senate, or however the Speaker of the House/President Pro Tempore of the Senate is chosen. The VP has to be confirmed by both houses of Congress per the 25th Amendment, so inserting a new VP is right out. Jan 19, 2017 at 17:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .