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US Election

From Obama to Trump: How the handover happens

A new president has been elected, but he is not yet in office. This is how the transition takes place.

The meeting

Barack Obama welcomed Donald Trump, the man he called during the campaign unfit to be president and a danger to America, to the White House as the next President of the United States. Despite prior misgivings, Obama is looking to continue the American democratic tradition of a peaceful transition of power. President George W. Bush and his team were graceful in receiving Obama 8 years ago, political disagreements notwithstanding, and Obama wants to extend the same courtesy, he said. The outgoing and incoming First Ladies, Michelle Obama and Melania Trump, also met.

The transition team

Trump's team is already busy looking to fill the most important posts with the right people. There is so far scant confirmed details as to who may be appointed.

Intelligence services

As president-elect, Trump has the right to start receiving classified briefings about secret operations or publicly undisclosed knowledge about foreign leaders.

USA Pete Souza Barack Obama Rückblick (Getty Images/White House/Pete Souza)

The Oval Office will soon have new people, new furniture and a new style

Electoral College votes

The election is over but formal confirmation of the result takes place on December 19. That is when the Electors will gather in their respective states to place their votes for president and vice president. Nothing in the Constitution or federal law requires voting according to the popular vote of each state, but state laws or party pledges all but ensure no deviation from the election result.

Air Force One

Barack Obama can fly the presidential plane for the remainder of his term in office. He has already said he will sincerely miss this presidential luxury. When Donald Trump assumes office on January 20, this globally recognized aircraft will be available for his exclusive use.

The move

The White House is Trump's as of Inaugration Day on January 20. The Obama family will move out and small renovations will be made. The new First Family can decide on a new interior design. The Obamas have chosen to remain in Washington, D.C., until their youngest daughter finishes school in 2018.

Deutschland Hannover Besuch Barack Obama (Reuters/N. Treblin)

The legendary Air Force One on the tarmac in Hanover, Germany

The nuclear football

Trump becomes Commander in Chief upon being sworn in as president on January 20. This gives him control of America's nuclear arsenal and the codes needed to use them. A briefcase, known as the nuclear football, is purported to be handcuffed to a military officer and with the president at all times he is away from a stationary command center, such as the White House situation room.

Inauguration Day

Transfer of power is complete on January 20 at 12 pm, when the president takes the oath of office and is sworn in as president. This traditionally takes place outside the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. It is usually a celebratory affair, but it was the likely cause of death of President William Harrison, America's ninth president. He suffered from a lung infection shortly after his two-hour inaugural speech on March 4, 1841, and died one month into his term.

The next presidential election

The next presidential election is fixed by law. It will next take place on November 3, 2020. Trump can run again, but is limited to two terms. He will be 74 in 2020 and 78 at the end of a potential second term. He is the oldest person to ever be elected president.

 

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