An important yet discreet part of the inauguration of a new president is the transfer of command and control authority over the U.S. nuclear arsenal, but President Donald Trump does not plan on attending President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. This could complicate matters.
Trump said on Friday that he “will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.” He did not say where he will be instead.
So what happens to the “nuclear football” that accompanies the president if Trump doesn’t show? How does it get to Biden?
“That’s a good question,” Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), told Insider. “It is an unprecedented situation.” In the nuclear age, no president has skipped their successor’s inauguration.