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 president of the United States 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 Speaker of the House acts as President.

Previous lines of succession[change | change source]

The United States Constitution says that the Vice President of the United States is the person who will replace the President if the President is not able to continue.[1]

The laws about succession (after the Vice President) 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.

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.[2] The new person behind the Vice President in line was Secretary of State, followed by other Cabinet members. The leaders of the Senate and House were restored to the line of succession by the Presidential Succession Act of 1947.[2]

Present line of succession[change | change source]

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 Nancy Pelosi (D)
3 President Pro Tempore of the Senate Chuck Grassley (R)
4 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R)
5 Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin (R)
6 Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (R)
7 Attorney General William P. Barr (R)
8 Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt (R)
9 Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue (R)
10 Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (R)
11 Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia (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)[3]
15 Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette (R)
16 Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (R)
17 Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie (R)
18 Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf (R)[4]

References[change | change source]

  1. See United States Constitution, Amendment XXV.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Succession to the Presidency - A Chronology". Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  3. Not a natural-born citizen (acquired U.S. citizenship by naturalization),
    and thus ineligible for the Presidency.
  4. Serving under acting capacity

Other websites[change | change source]