Following on to this question... since a military aide is always near the President with the Football, how does the new President get the football if that aide with the football is with the now-former President over -- for example -- the South Pacific in formerly-Air Force One?

Would these aides somehow conspire to not be in the plane with the President? Or would "they" tell the President that the Football is staying in Washington?

  • Answered by events, as Trump took the football to Florida with him. There are multiple "footballs", the old one was deactivated at noon on Inauguration Day: nypost.com/2021/01/20/…
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 20:44
  • @jamesqf that's an answer (which is a duplicate of the existing answer).
    – RonJohn
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 20:47
  • No, it is not an answer, it is a comment explaining why this question is no longer relevant to anything.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 3:40
  • @jamesqf sure There are multiple "footballs" is an answer to How does the new President secure the nuclear football during a “contested” transition?
    – RonJohn
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 4:11
  • If you think it is an answer, you're perfectly free to go ahead and write an answer containing the information. What I wrote was a comment. I can tell the difference :-)
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 18:41

1 Answer 1


There are three nuclear footballs in total. Two are allocated to the president and vice president, with the last being stored in the White House.[14] In Presidential transitions, the president-elect does not receive the actual nuclear code card until after the nuclear briefing, when "he meets with the outgoing president at the White House just before the actual inauguration ceremony. The code card is activated electronically right after the president-elect takes the oath at noon".[15] -Wikipedia


With outgoing President Donald Trump skipping president-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony to instead spend the afternoon in Florida, a literal handoff of the nuclear codes is not possible. Instead [...] the U.S. military has designed a "more complicated" handover involving two separate black bags. "At noon, the set of codes that Donald Trump has will become inactive – and at that moment, the set of codes that Joseph Biden has will become active." - Article

  • It's not clear if this meeting will take place, though, is it? Commented Jan 9, 2021 at 11:38
  • 4
    @Eric While I can't prove it, I'm still pretty sure the VP would be willing to attend the meeting if the president is unavailable.
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 9, 2021 at 11:48
  • 1
    @EricDuminil it's not clear, at least from this answer, that the outgoing president's or vice president's presence at the nuclear briefing is required. Perhaps it's just customary.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 9, 2021 at 22:21

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