The US President, Donald Trump, has announced that he has contracted COVID-19. Apparently, his physical capacity to execute his duties is unchanged at this time, but he went into isolation to not infect other people. It would appear that this interferes with his ability to act as Commander-in-Chief because he should not be sitting in the situation room (or similar, secure facilities) with e.g. the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

What is the required protocol for a situation of President's self-isolation?

This question is two-fold:

  1. Are there facilities for POTUS to participate in secure meetings with military staff even from isolation?
  2. If no such facilities exist, is it required the President to put the Vice President in charge -- for example, by invoking the third Section of 25th Amendment to the US Constitution?
  • 3
    I'm sorry, but we generally don't answer questions about what decisions politicians should make, because that's a matter of personal opinion. But perhaps we could salvage the question if you removed all the opinionated parts and refocused it on the established protocol for this kind of situation.
    – Philipp
    Oct 2, 2020 at 9:21
  • Also, he can't invoke the 25th. That's not his job or his authority, it's the Senate's. If he feels he can't do his job anymore he can resign.
    – Shadur
    Oct 2, 2020 at 13:02
  • 4
    @Shadur that is not correct. Section 3 is specifically about the President transmitting to the Senate that he is transferring power to the VP and then later taking it back.
    – Damila
    Oct 2, 2020 at 14:02
  • Question 1 is a good one and the answer is almost certainly yes. Presidents travel all the time and seem to have ways of secure communication.
    – Damila
    Oct 2, 2020 at 14:04
  • @Shadur - Section 3 of the 25th amendment has been invoked three times by the President to temporarily transfer power to the Vice President, all in advance of the President having a colonoscopy. It is best not to drive a car, to use a checkbook, or to use Presidential powers right after recovering from a colonoscopy. Oct 2, 2020 at 17:15

1 Answer 1


At this point, either the President or all visitors could wear PPE (suits, not just masks). This would be bothersome but easily possible. Things would change if the President requires a respirator at any point, but remember that a significant percentage of infected persons is asymptomatic.

There could also the question if fever or fatigue affect his judgement, but that issue is independent of isolation facilities.

  • 2
    A simpler solution would be for the President to just use video conferencing. Oct 2, 2020 at 17:48

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