If President Donald Trump were impeached and convicted, and Mike Pence became president, how long would his term be? Would it be for 4 years or would there still be a 2020 election?

  • 38
    Semantic point - a president doesn't leave office until they are impeached and convicted. The impeachment is the beginning of the process, not the end. Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 23:16
  • @ArcanistLupus Would I be right in saying that every impeached president to date has resigned before conviction?
    – AJFaraday
    Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 13:13
  • 23
    @AJFaraday No, Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson were impeached but the senate failed to convict either during their trials. Richard Nixon resigned before he was impeached.
    – bstpierre
    Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 13:40
  • Until 2020 or 2024 (pending whether before impeachment Trump manages to be re-elected) ;)
    – Shadow1024
    Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 10:00
  • 1
    Please clarify whether the Q. positively presumes that Pence couldn't be party to the (hypothetical) high crimes and misdemeanors of his predecessor. (If Pence was a knowing accomplice or accessory his tenure might be brief. The ironic outcome of which might be the first woman president.)
    – agc
    Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 20:36

2 Answers 2


There would still be a 2020 election

If a President is impeached and removed from office, or stops being the President for any other reason, the Vice President serves the remainder of that President's term, according to the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.

The 25th Amendment has been tested under Richard Nixon. Although he was not impeached, Richard Nixon resigned amid the Watergate scandal, and his Vice President Gerald Ford became the President in 1974. Gerald Ford served out the remainder of Nixon's second term, and ran for President in 1976, losing to Jimmy Carter.

  • 18
    Likewise Lyndon Johnson, who served the remainder of Kennedy's term after he was assassinated, then was elected to a 4-year term in his own right. And Truman, who became President after FDR died in office. It doesn't matter why the office becomes vacant.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 18:04
  • @Joe I don't see where the 25th Amendment says anything about the duration of the term.
    – Dave Costa
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 20:49
  • 5
    @DaveCosta the duration of the term is in article 2 and the timing of the term's beginning and end is in the 20th amendment.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 22:46

The United States has presidential elections every four years. Absent some near total calamity like a nuclear war that prevented communications from occurring, there will be a presidential election in 2020. Impeachment does not interfere in that process at all.

If Donald Trump were impeached and blocked from running again (which is one of the things that impeachment can do, disqualify from office), then Mike Pence would serve out the remainder of his term. Pence could run in 2020. Pence could run again in 2024, as even if he won in 2020, he would have been president for less than six years by inauguration in 2025.

  • 2
    A presidential election in 2020 could also be avoided by a constitutional amendment. This is probably nearly as unlikely as a nuclear war, but it is theoretically possible.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 17:33
  • 8
    Honestly, I don't think a nuclear war would be enough to stop the 2020 election. The presidential election system was set up when communication was a lot slower than it is now, and is designed around it taking several weeks for people to get from place to place.
    – Mark
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 20:02
  • Question about one of the points in this answer: Can a US President, after impeachment and removal, be re-elected or re-appointed?
    – WBT
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 22:16

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