America

The Current Presidential Line of Succession  

carlybobarly
52.7k views 18 items

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 Donald Trump dies? Or is impeached and ousted from office? The first up is VP Mike Pence, followed by the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. 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 current line of succession is unique because it skips two people who would otherwise be in line for the United States Presidency. The first person is Sally Jewell, the Secretary of Interior. Though she should be #8 after Attorney General Loretta Lynch, she is not on the list at all because, though she is a naturalized US citizen, she was born in the UK. The second person omitted from the line of presidential succession under Obama's administration is Seth Harris, the Acting Secretary of Labor. He assumed the role when Hilda Solis resigned in January 2013 at the start of 44th President Barack Obama's second term.

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.

list ordered by
1
Mike Pence is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession

Vice President of the United States (R) 

Michael Richard Pence (born June 7, 1959) is an American politician and lawyer serving as the 48th and current vice president of the United States. He previously was the 50th governor of Indiana ...more

More Mike Pence

#186 of 836 The Scariest Threats to the United States #61 of 111 Famous Politicians You'd Want to Have a Beer Withfeaturing Mike Pence's Relationship With Women Is Even Stranger Than You Already Thought

2
Nancy Pelosi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession

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 ...more

More Nancy Pelosi

#127 of 836 The Scariest Threats to the United States #123 of 571 Things That Are Not As Cool As People Think They Are #15 of 25 The Most Influential People in 2019

3
Chuck Grassley is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession

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 ...more
4
Mike Pompeo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession

Secretary of State (R)

Michael Richard Pompeo (; born December 30, 1963) is an American politician and attorney who, since April 2018, has served as the 70th United States secretary of state. He is a former United ...more
5
Steven Mnuchin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession

Secretary of the Treasury (R)

Steven Terner Mnuchin (born December 21, 1962) is an American former investment banker who is serving as the 77th and current United States Secretary of the Treasury as part of the cabinet of ...more

More Steven Mnuchin

#177 of 836 The Scariest Threats to the United States #12 of 38 Who Do You Think Is Really Making Decisions In The White House? #6 of 15 Every Trump Cabinet Member's Stance On Science

6
Ryan Zinke is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession

Secretary of the Interior (R)

Ryan Keith Zinke (; born November 1, 1961) is an American politician and businessman who served as United States Secretary of the Interior in the Trump Administration from 2017 until his ...more

More Ryan Zinke

#259 of 836 The Scariest Threats to the United States #19 of 20 Politicians Who Believe in Conspiracies #9 of 15 Every Trump Cabinet Member's Stance On Science

7
Sonny Perdue is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession

Secretary of Agriculture (R)

George Ervin "Sonny" Perdue III (born December 20, 1946) is an American veterinarian, businessman, and politician currently serving as the 31st United States Secretary of Agriculture ...more

More Sonny Perdue

#255 of 836 The Scariest Threats to the United States #19 of 39 The Most Influential Republicans Who Were Once Democratslisted on All Georgia Governors

8
Wilbur Ross is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession

Secretary of Commerce (R)

Wilbur Louis Ross Jr. (born November 28, 1937) is an American investor and the current United States Secretary of Commerce. On November 30, 2016, then-President-elect Donald Trump announced that ...more

More Wilbur Ross

#370 of 836 The Scariest Threats to the United States #23 of 38 Who Do You Think Is Really Making Decisions In The White House? #11 of 15 Every Trump Cabinet Member's Stance On Science

9
Alexander Acosta is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession

Secretary of Labor (R)

Rene Alexander Acosta (born January 16, 1969) is an American attorney, academic, and politician who is the 27th and current United States Secretary of Labor. A Republican, he was appointed by ...more

More Alexander Acosta

#468 of 836 The Scariest Threats to the United States #65 of 73 Everyone Who Has Been Fired Or Resigned From The Trump Administration So Far #12 of 15 Every Trump Cabinet Member's Stance On Science

10
Alex Azar is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession

Secretary of Health and Human Services (R)

Alex Michael Azar II ( born June 17, 1967) is an American politician, lawyer, pharmaceutical lobbyist and former drug company executive who is the current United States Secretary of Health and ...more
11
Ben Carson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (R)

Benjamin Solomon Carson Sr. (born September 18, 1951) is an American politician, author and former neurosurgeon serving as the 17th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development since ...more

More Ben Carson

#15 of 15 Which Republican Candidate Do You Trust the Most? #3 of 15 Every Trump Cabinet Member's Stance On Science

12
Rick Perry is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession

Secretary of Energy (R)

James Richard "Rick" Perry (born March 4, 1950) is an American politician who is the 14th and current United States Secretary of Energy, serving in the Cabinet of Donald Trump. Prior ...more

More Rick Perry

#194 of 836 The Scariest Threats to the United States #43 of 111 Famous Politicians You'd Want to Have a Beer With #4 of 20 The Most Anti-Gay US Politicians

13
Betsy DeVos is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession
Betsy DeVos

Secretary of Education (R)

Elisabeth Dee DeVos (; née Prince; born January 8, 1958) is the 11th and current United States Secretary of Education since 2017. DeVos is a Republican known for her support for school ...more

More Betsy DeVos

#583 of 836 The Scariest Threats to the United States #74 of 166 The Most Ridiculous Political Pundits #61 of 64 All the Things That Were a Thing in 2017, Ranked

14
Robert Wilkie is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession

Secretary of Veterans Affairs (R)

Robert Leon Wilkie Jr. (born August 2, 1962) is an American lawyer, government official and perjurer serving as the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. On July 23, 2018, Wilkie was ...more
15
Kirstjen Nielsen is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession
Kirstjen Nielsen

Secretary of Homeland Security (I)

16
Patrick M. Shanahan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession

Acting Secretary of Defense

Patrick Michael Shanahan is the Acting United States Secretary of Defense since January 1, 2019, having replaced Jim Mattis, and the Deputy Secretary of Defense since July 19, 2017. President ...more
17
Matthew Whitaker is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession

Acting Attorney General

Matthew George Whitaker (born October 29, 1969) is an American lawyer and politician who served as the Acting United States Attorney General from November 7, 2018, to February 14, 2019. He was ...more
18
Elaine Chao is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession

Secretary of Transportation (R) * not eligible for the presidency

Elaine Lan Chao (Chinese: 趙小蘭; pinyin: Zhào Xiǎolán; born March 26, 1953) is the United States Secretary of Transportation who assumed her office on January 31, 2017. A member of ...more

More Elaine Chao

#310 of 836 The Scariest Threats to the United States #14 of 15 Every Trump Cabinet Member's Stance On Science