The Current Presidential Line of Succession
This is a list of the people in the line of succession to become President of the United States upon the death, incapacity, resignation, or removal of the acting president or president-elect. Who becomes President if Joe Biden dies? The first up is VP Kamala Harris, followed by the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. In the unlikely event that the American President dies or leaves the office, this is the order in which other U.S. politicians would be in line for to become the Acting President.
The line of succession has only come into play a few times in American history. A few times, a vice president has become president when the President has died of natural causes, which has happened 4 times:
-William Henry Harrison died in 1841 after 30 days in office; he was succeeded by John Tyler
-Zachary Taylor died in 1850 after 1 year and 4 months in office; he was succeeded by Millard Fillmore
-Warren G. Harding died in 1923, 2 years and 4 months in office; he was succeeded by Calvin Coolidge
-Franklin D. Roosevelt died in 1945 after 12 years in office, 1 month into his 4th term; he was succeeded by Harry S. Truman
Several American Vice Presidents have also risen to the presidency following the assassination of the President. This has also happened four times:
-Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, 1 month into his second term; he was succeeded by Andrew Johnson
-James A. Garfield was assassinated in 1881, after 6 months in office; he was succeeded by Chester Arthur
-William McKinley was assassinated in 1901, 6 months into his second term; he was succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt
-John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 after 2 years and 10 months in office; he was succeeded by Lyndon B. Johnson
The one other time a Vice President succeeded to the Presidency followed the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974, after which Gerald Ford became President.
Gosh, that's actually a lot of Vice Presidents who became President, when you consider that there have only been 45 total American Presidents. So far. And in "Battlestar Galactica," Secretary of Education Laura Roslin was #43! in line before the Cylons surprise attacked the Twelve Colonies and killed the whole government. I guess I'm just saying: it doesn't hurt to be prepared.
Vice President of the United States (D)Kamala Devi Harris (born October 20, 1964) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the 49th vice president of the United States. A member of the Democratic Party, Harris is the second African ...more
Speaker of the House (D)Nancy Patricia Pelosi (born March 26, 1940) is an American politician and a member of the Democratic Party. She has served as speaker of the United States House of Representatives since January 2019, ...more
President pro tempore of the Senate (R)Charles Ernest Grassley (born September 17, 1933) is an American politician serving as the President pro tempore of the United States Senate, and the senior United States Senator from Iowa. He is ...more
Secretary of State (D)Antony John Blinken (born April 16, 1962) is an American government official and diplomat. He served as Deputy National Security Advisor from 2013 to 2015 and Deputy Secretary of State from 2015 to ...more
Secretary of the Treasury (D)Janet Louise Yellen (born August 13, 1946) is an American economist who was the 15th chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, the first woman to hold the role. She is a professor emerita at ...more
General Lloyd Austin
Secretary of Defense (D)
Lloyd James Austin III (born August 8, 1953) is an American retired four-star Army general who served as the 12th commander of United States Central Command (CENTCOM). Austin was the first black commander of CENTCOM. On December 8, 2020, President Joe Biden announced his intention to nominate Austin as Secretary of Defense.