What Happens If Donald Trump Resigns?

Even though Joe Biden has been named the winner of the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump has refused to accept the loss. He has claimed that voter fraud helped the Biden-Harris campaign win, particularly in key swing states (despite no substantial evidence of the sort.) He has not conceded the race to date. Instead, he and his personal lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, are taking legal action to attempt to get certain votes dismissed. In short, it's a messy situation, but also an intriguing one as Americans wonder what might happen next.

Some are predicting that Trump might resign as president of the United States before his term officially ends. If that does happen, it would mean that sitting Vice President Mike Pence would become the president for a short period of time. That possibility has Americans theorizing that Trump might do just that. Here's why. 

Some wonder if Mike Pence would pardon Donald Trump

There's normally a civil transfer of power between presidents of the United States. Typically, the outgoing president helps the incoming president settle in, with the hopes of creating a smooth transition. At this point, that's an unlikely scenario when it comes to Donald Trump and Joe Biden. However, maybe Trump wouldn't be the outgoing president by the time Biden is inaugurated in January 2021. Some Americans think there's a chance that Pence will take over the presidency from Trump and then pardon him to help resolve some legal issues that dogged his presidency.

One person tweeted, "My hot take: trump concedes (at some point) trump resigns Pence becomes POTUS and pardons Trump." Another person posted, "Honestly, I think there's a pretty good chance he just resigns. A responsible president would spend the next few months assisting the peaceful transition of power and working with the new administration on ongoing problems, like the pandemic. Trump has no interest in that." Someone else declared, "It's too early to call Biden 46th President! He may be 47th after Trump resigns to get a pardon from Pence." Another warned, "Don't print up any "Biden 46" merch. If Trump resigns so that Pence can pardon him, Pence will be 46 and Biden will be 47." And on and on.

As wild as that theory sounds, it feels like anything is possible at this point.