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 offices 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. An individual must be over 35 years old and a natural born citizen to serve as President. Also, "acting" cabinet members, if they have been confirmed by the Senate in their other role, are included in the line.
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 2017 is as follows:
- 1. Vice President of the United States
- 2. Speaker of the House of Representatives
- 3. President pro tempore of the Senate
- 4. Secretary of State
- 5. Secretary of the Treasury
- 6. Secretary of Defense
- 7. Attorney General
- 8. Secretary of the Interior
- 9. Secretary of Agriculture
- 10 Secretary of Commerce
- 11 Secretary of Labor
- 12. Secretary of Health and Human Services
- 13. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
- 14. Secretary of Transportation
- 15. Secretary of Energy
- 16. Secretary of Education
- 17. Secretary of Veterans Affairs
- 18. Secretary of Homeland Security