U.S. Presidential line of succession

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The United States Presidential line of succession is the order in which government officials replace the United States President if the president leaves office before an elected successor is inaugurated. If the President dies, resigns, or is removed from office, the Vice President becomes President for the rest of the term. If the Vice President is unable to serve, the next person in the line of succession acts as President.

Previous lines of succession[change | change source]

The laws about succession were first created in 1792. The second in line, after the Vice President was the leader of the Senate. The next in line was the Speaker of the House of Representatives. In 1868, during the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, Benjamin Wade was the leader of the Senate. He almost became president, but Johnson was found not guilty by one vote. Johnson had been the Vice President for Abraham Lincoln. He became President after the assassination of Lincoln. Because of Lincoln's assassination, there was no Vice President at the time. The Chief Justice and other members of the Supreme Court were not a part of the line of succession.

In 1886, after the death of Vice President Thomas A. Hendricks, Congress passed a law that took out the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives from the line of succession.[1] The new person behind the Vice President in line was Secretary of State, followed by other Cabinet members.

Present line of succession[change | change source]

The most recent law about the line of successions passed in 1946. Below is the current line of succession for the President of the United States:

No. Office Current officer
1 Vice President Mike Pence (R)
2 Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R)
3 President Pro Tempore of the Senate Orrin Hatch (R)
4 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R)
5 Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin (R)
6 Secretary of Defense James Mattis (I)
7 Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R)
8 Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke (R)
9 Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue (R)
10 Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (R)
11 Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta (R)
12 Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar (R)
13 Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson (R)
14 Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao (R)[a]
15 Secretary of Energy Rick Perry (R)
16 Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (R)
17 Secretary of Veterans Affairs Vacant
18 Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen (I)
  1. Not a natural-born citizen (acquired U.S. citizenship by naturalization)
    and thus ineligible for the Presidency.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Succession to the Presidency - A Chronology". Retrieved 21 October 2015. 

Other websites[change | change source]