What is a “designated survivor’? State of the Union-declared role

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Each member of President Trump, the Cabinet will be invited, in his second state of the Union speech on Jan. 29 – with one exception.

To provide hours in front of the Trump steps up to the podium to be named in his annual address to Congress, a “designated survivor”. Last year, the agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the roll was commissioned.

Before the speech, the designated survivor will be taken to a secure and secret location outside of Washington, DC, where he or she is expected to stay with a Secret Service agent until the conclusion of the event. If Trump and his Cabinet members were safe, the full house chamber, that allowed elected officials to leave, to return home.


Here’s what you need to know about the “designated survivor”, a unique role, which it has been for decades.

What it means to be the “designated survivor?”

To stay during major political events, such as a presidential inauguration or State of the Union address, an official in the presidential line of succession is given the role of “designated survivor,” and has gone from the event.

This precaution is taken to ensure continuity in the presidency.

If a catastrophic event hit the Capitol and result in the death or disability of the President, the Vice President, the speaker of the house or other White house officials, then the “designated survivor” could step in to be acting commander-in-chief.

When this tradition started?

This tradition goes back to the 1960s, in the midst of fears of a possible nuclear attack during the Cold war.

But the official records of the “designated survivor” were not kept until 1984, starting with the Secretary of housing and urban development Samuel R. Pierce, Jr., during Ronald Reagan’s State of the Union speech of Jan. 25, 1984.

Who was chosen as “designated survivor” over the years?

U.S. Secretary of agriculture Sonny Perdue called the “designated survivor” in Trump’s SOTU speech Jan. 30, 2018.
(REUTERS/Mark Schiefelbein/Pool)

Wax the appointment of the “designated survivor” for Trump’s for 2018 address. As the Minister for agriculture, wax usually has a low rank in the line of succession in the presidency — ninth on a list of 17 officials.

It is not uncommon to be selected for a less well-known Cabinet member, the President pointed to higher-profile officials, as he mentioned that he has certain tasks and initiatives in his speech.


Former Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin was given the role, while Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress in the year 2017.

Here is a list of the members of the Cabinet, named the “designated survivor” and not to the state of the Union in the course of the last 10 years:

Jan. 30, 2018: Minister for agriculture, Sonny Perdue

Jan. 12, 2016: the Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson

Jan. 20, 2015: Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx

Jan. 28, 2014: Secretary Of Energy Ernest Moniz

Feb. 12, 2013: Energy Secretary Steven Chu

Jan. 24, 2012: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

Jan. 25, 2011: Minister Of The Interior, Ken Salazar

Jan. 27, 2010: Sec of State Hillary Clinton and HUD’s Shaun Donovan

Jan. 28, 2008: Minister Of The Interior Dirk Kempthorne

Jan. 23, 2007: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

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