Rick Perry named 'designated survivor' for State of the Union address

Leslie Hanson
February 6, 2019

By tradition, one Cabinet secretary is closeted away at a secure, undisclosed location to ensure continuity of government in case disaster strikes while government leaders attend the speech.

"It has to be someone in the line of succession and acting people aren't in the line of succession", said Chris Lu, who served as Cabinet secretary in the Obama White House and helped select designated survivors for several speeches during that administration. But neither requires the sequestration of officials.

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry is the designated survivor for the 2019 State of the Union address. He made two unsuccessful bids for the Republican nomination for president, in 2012 and 2016.

Of the 15 executive department heads specified under the law as being eligible, three are now headed by acting leadership, and another is constitutionally ineligible.


At his confirmation hearing in 2017, Perry said he regretted recommending the elimination of the Energy Department.

The procedure originated during the Cold War, but there was no publicly-acknowledged designated survivor until 1981. They would then be third and fourth in the line of succession to the presidency, after the vice president. According to IMDb, actor Kiefer Sutherland plays a low-level cabinet official that takes over the presidency after a devastating attack kills everyone above him in the line of succession, in the television series Designated Survivor.

One cabinet member, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, is ineligible under the constitution because she was not a USA citizen at birth. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker also can't be the survivors, because they have not been confirmed by the Senate.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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