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] It is very important to know who the new president will be if they are not able to serve any longer.

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[3] Incumbent Party
1 Vice President Mike Pence Republican
2 Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi Democratic
3 President pro tempore of the Senate Chuck Grassley Republican
4 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Republican
5 Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin Republican
6[upper-alpha 1] Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller Republican
7[upper-alpha 1] Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen Republican
8 Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt Republican
9 Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Republican
10 Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross Republican
11 Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia Republican
12 Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar Republican
13 Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson Republican
14[upper-alpha 1] Secretary of Transportation Steven G. Bradbury Republican
15 Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette Republican
16[upper-alpha 1] Secretary of Education Mick Zais Republican
17 Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie Republican
18[upper-alpha 1] Secretary of Homeland Security Pete Gaynor Republican

Notes[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Eligible if acting officers whose prior executive branch appointment required Senate confirmation are included in the line of succession, which is unclear. The current succession act states that the list of eligible cabinet officers includes only "officers appointed, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate," whereas the previous act stated that the list (of eligible cabinet secretaries) only applied to persons confirmed to "the offices therein named," thus excluded acting secretaries. Many officials who serve as acting secretaries have previously received Senate confirmations for deputy-level posts, and so might be eligible under the more ambiguous wording of the current law.[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. Lord, Debbie (June 18, 2018). "A president resigns, dies or is impeached: What is the line of succession?". WFTV.com. Cox Media Group. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  4. "The Continuity of the Presidency: The Second Report of the Continuity of Government Commission" (PDF). Preserving Our Institutions. Washington, D.C.: Continuity of Government Commission. June 2009. p. 34. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 23, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2012 – via WebCite.

Other websites[change | change source]