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January 20, 2021 - The violent assault of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, and concern about a peaceful transfer of power, is raising questions about the control of the country’s nuclear arsenal.
All presidents and a military aide together carry the tools necessary to launch the country’s nuclear weapons: anywhere, anytime.
Those two tools, called the “nuclear football” (a briefcase) and the “nuclear biscuit” (the activation codes), are carried around with the U.S. president at all times, and transferred to whoever assumes office on inauguration day, usually around noon.
But this time, because of the latest incidents and due to the fact that Trump has been unable to say whether or not he will attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, the transfer could be more complicated.
If President Trump skips the inauguration, it is believed that the Pentagon could provide Biden with its own nuclear briefcase the moment he is sworn-in, while Trump’s command over his would cease.
Whereas, if President Trump is impeached or removed from office under 25th Amendment, Vice President Mike Pence would become acting president and the football should then be passed to him until January 20.
- Here's what happens to the 'nuclear football' if Trump decides to skip Biden's inauguration (Business Insider)
- What happens to the ‘nuclear football’ if Trump skips Biden’s inauguration? (The Independent)
- Enraged And Isolated, Donald Trump Still Has Sole Control Of America’s Nukes (Forbes)
- The Real Story of the “Football” That Follows the President Everywhere (Smithsonian)
- By the Way, Donald Trump Could Still Launch Nuclear Weapons at Any Time (Wired)
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