Presidential Line of Succession
The Presidential Line of Succession charts who is to succeed to the presidency in the event of the death or removal of the incumbent President. There are currently 16 individuals in the line of succession, it includes the Vice President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, President pro tempore of the Senate and then the Presidential Cabinet.
Events have happened where the Line of Succession was used: various Vice Presidents have risen to the Presidency upon the death or assassination of the incumbent. Most recently, Gerald Ford assumed the presidency upon the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974, and Lyndon Johnson upon the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963.
In the event of an important occasion at which many senior government officials would be present (such as the Presidential Inauguration or State of the Union address), one particular senior member is chosen by the President to stay at the White House, or another location, in the event of an attack that would kill those present at the event. This individual is called the Designated Survivor.
The Presidential Line of Succession as of 2010 is as follows:
- 1. Vice President of the United States (Joseph Biden)
- 2. Speaker of the House of Representatives (Nancy Pelosi)
- 3. President pro tempore of the Senate (Robert Byrd)
- 4. Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton)
- 5. Secretary of the Treasury (Timothy Geithner)
- 6. Secretary of Defense (Robert Gates)
- 7. Attorney General (Eric Holder)
- 8. Secretary of the Interior (Kenneth Salazar)
- 9. Secretary of Agriculture (Thomas Vilsack)
- 10 Secretary of Commerce (Gary Locke)
- 11 Secretary of Labor (Hilda Solis)
- 12. Secretary of Health and Human Services (Kathleen Sebellius)
- 13. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (Shaun Donovan)
- 14. Secretary of Transportation (Ray LaHood)
- 15. Secretary of Energy (Steven Chu)
- 16. Secretary of Education (Arne Duncan)
- 17. Secretary of Veterans Affairs (Eric Shinseki)
- 18. Secretary of Homeland Security (Janet Napolitano)