U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One as they depart Washington.
FILE - U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One as they depart Washington to travel to the first presidential debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Cleveland, Ohio, September 29, 2020.

U.S. first lady Melania Trump will not join President Donald Trump on the campaign trail Tuesday because of a lingering cough from COVID-19, according to her chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham. 

Grisham said Tuesday that Mrs. Trump’s health continues to improve daily after she and the president announced in early October that they had contracted the infectious disease. 

The first lady has decided not to accompany Trump to a campaign rally Tuesday night in Erie, Pennsylvania, “out of an abundance of caution,” Grisham said. 

Melania Trump, who announced last week that she had recovered from COVID-19, made her last public appearance during the September 29 debate between Trump and Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden. 

 

What Happens Next?

What It Means to Become President-Elect in the US

In the United States, Democrat Joe Biden is being called the president-elect.

President-elect is a descriptive term not an official office. As such, Biden has no power in the government, and he would not until he is inaugurated at noon on January 20, 2021.

American news networks, which track all of the vote counting, determined on November 7 that Biden’s lead had become insurmountable in Pennsylvania, putting him over the 270 electoral votes needed to be president. Within minutes of determining his lead was mathematically assured, they projected him as the winner.

That is why news organizations, including VOA, are calling Biden the "projected winner."

Sometimes, in the case of particularly close elections, when news networks make this call, the other candidate does not concede victory. President Donald Trump has not done so, alleging voter fraud without substantial evidence and vowing to fight on. The president’s position has left Washington lawmakers divided, with Republicans backing a legal inquiry into allegations of vote fraud, even as they celebrate other congressional lawmakers who won their races.

When will the dispute be resolved?

The U.S. election won’t be officially certified for weeks. In the meantime, court challenges and state recounts could occur.

So far, the Trump administration has not provided evidence for any fraud that could overturn the result, but there is still time for more legal challenges.

Once states have certified the vote, pledged electors then cast their votes in the Electoral College in mid-December. Congress then certifies the overall Electoral College result in early January, about two weeks before Inauguration Day.