So it's going to be President Trump: What exactly happens next?


Donald Trump has been elected as the next president of the United States of America - you may have noticed.

What you might not know is what will happen in the immediate future.

When will he take power?

Trump poster with the words
Trump's win has shocked the world (Susan Walsh/AP)

The first thing to note is Trump does not become commander-in-chief straight away. The Republican will not take his place in the Oval Office until January and in the meantime the president-elect will prepare his administration and appoint officials.

Trump has already been invited to the White House by outgoing president Barack Obama to discuss how power will be transferred from his administration to Trump's. The White House's press secretary said ensuring a "smooth transition of power" was their "top priority".

Obama and Clinton
Obama was staunch in his support Clinton but now he must pass on the reigns to a man he has heavily criticised in the past (AP)

By law, the president must take his oath of office by noon on January 20. This has been scheduled as the date of the inauguration ceremony traditionally conducted by the Chief Justice, so expect to start calling the business mogul President Trump from then.

Why the long wait?

Woman outside the White House
It takes a couple of months before the US president-elect becomes president for real (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Many formalities will have to be completed before Trump is sworn in.

On December 19, the electors - the members of the Electoral College - meet in their state HQs and vote for a president and vice president on separate ballots. They will sign, seal and certify six sets of electoral votes.

The votes must be received by the president of the Senate and the archivist no later than nine days after the meeting, according to the website of the National Archives and Records Administration.

On January 6, Congress will meet and and count the electoral votes, before the president of the Senate declares who has been elected president and vice president - only then can Trump be sworn in as the new president.

What will happen when he takes power?

Trump headshot
Will Trump build the wall he promised? (Evan Vucci/AP)

At his inauguration Trump will deliver an address - a key event in US politics - where he is expected to set out the vision and tone for the first four years of his administration.

Clearly what this vision and tone consists of is up to Trump. If we believe the policies he put forward in his campaign we can perhaps expect a crackdown on illegal immigration and a more active foreign policy against so-called Islamic State.

Trump protesters dressed as a wall
Trump has faced huge amounts of criticism for his proposal to build a wall on the US border with Mexico (Patrick Semansky/AP)

On the other hand following his victory he said the American people will come together "like never before" and thanked his nemesis Hillary Clinton. Whether this is a sign he will set a tone of unity we cannot answer. All that has been made from this election so far is to expect the unexpected.

In short, what will happen when Trump takes power? At the moment, nobody knows. Possibly not even him.