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Can Joe Biden be replaced as the sitting president?

President Biden's performance during the Presidential Debate on Thursday has opened the discussion and possibility of replacing the President as the Democratic nominee.

President Biden’s incoherency and fatigue at last night’s CNN Presidential Debate has left Democratic insiders questioning whether President Biden should seek a second term in office. But a more urgent issue is the president’s ability to continue his first term in office. This guide explains the constitutional mechanism for Biden to be replaced as the sitting president.

What does the Constitution say about presidential succession?

The 25th Amendment to the Constitution spells out the presidential order of succession.


The first three scenarios deal with the possibility of death, resignation, or illness. It is through these sections that Vice Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Gerald Ford each became President of the United States. The fourth and most talked about section in the 25th Amendment provides a mechanism to remove a president without their consent. 

It last became part of the national conversation in the aftermath of the January 6 riots, when some cabinet members reportedly discussed removing former President Trump from office.

TRUMP SAYS ‘BIGGEST PROBLEM’ NOT BIDEN’S AGE, ‘DECLINE,’ BUT HIS POLICIES IN FIRST APPEARANCE SINCE DEBATE

How would replacing the president work?

According to the relevant section, these steps would take place: 

TRUMP SAYS ‘BIGGEST PROBLEM’ NOT BIDEN’S AGE, ‘DECLINE,’ BUT HIS POLICIES IN FIRST APPEARANCE SINCE DEBATE

Are there any signs that it will be invoked?

No. There is no reporting that anyone in Biden’s inner circle or the White House is considering such a move. 

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Elsewhere, voices across the political spectrum have raised the possibility that Biden is not capable of remaining in office.

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That includes figures ranging from Johnson to comedian Jon Stewart.

What if President Biden dies or resigns?

As above, the 25th amendment also deals with succession in the event of death or resignation. In both cases, Vice President Harris would become President of the United States.

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