Former U.S. President Barack Obama tide as recently sworn-in chairman Donald trumped walks v wife Melania Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2017.

You are watching: Can the president refuse to leave office

Despite virulently the contrary the results of the November presidential choice won by previous Vice chairman Joe Biden, president Donald trumped is planing to leaving the White house the morning of January 20.

He will follow in the footsteps that every single one of his predecessors. No chairman in American history has refused to exit the executive mansion.

But what would occur if one did?

“The major goal in creating our mechanism was that us not have a monarch with indefinite tenure. The president has actually a four-year term and also if he it s okay re-elected, great, yet if the doesn"t, climate he goes away,” claims Brian Kalt, a professor of law at Michigan State University’s college of Law.

The Constitution, the supreme regulation of the joined States, says that the president, “shall host his Office throughout the ax of 4 Years.”

“And the 20th amendment declares that his term end at noon top top January 20 and also the brand-new president takes the oath and becomes president at noon ~ above January 20,” Kalt says. “At noon, this person is not the president anymore ... He"s a trespasser at that point.”


What would take place if a president refused to leaving the White House?

“After the new president was inaugurated, he would speak to on the mystery Service or the military to escort the old president the end of the White House,” says chronicler Bruce Kuklick. “And it would happen.”

Besides, occupying the White house does not make a person the president. “What makes you president is being inaugurated chairman of the United states as a an outcome of a procedure of deciding who won the election,” states Kate Masur, an combine professor of history at Northwestern University. “There"s nothing in the structure that states you have to be literally in the White House.” Officials throughout the government are crucial to the relaxed transfer the power. Plenty of federal workers, including those in the military, secret Service and FBI, take an oath to defend the Constitution, which means recognizing the winner that the Electoral college vote.

“The constitution outlines that there is an Electoral College, and it offers an overview of just how a brand-new president is chosen,” Masur says. “And if friend refuse come cooperate v the procedures developed under that component of the Constitution that lays the structure for exactly how a chairman is chosen, you room violating her oath that office.”

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Historian Kuklick says the weight of political culture and publicly opinion, quite than specific words in the Constitution, space what prevent American presidents from overstaying your welcome. “The guy couldn"t gain away with it and it"s not a issue of what"s written in the Constitution,” he says. “It"s around the conventions the government and also the traditions. Ns mean, there just wouldn"t be any kind of support for his law that.”Kuklick says autonomous traditions like cost-free and same elections and the serene transfer the power room integral to just how Americans check out themselves. And these dearly hosted conventions room not something they’d let walk of lightly. “If you"re a U.S. National, from the moment you"ve unable to do to kindergarten, did you do it heard the stories about how the United states operates and the sort of constitution democracy it is. And in your own lifetime, you"ve checked out presidents lose and go out of power,” states Kuklick. “It"s just part of the pageantry and also majesty the this constitutional routine … It"s born and also bred right into them.”