politics The Current Presidential Line of Succession  

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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
Mike Pence

Vice President of the United States (R) 

Michael Richard "Mike" Pence is an American politician and attorney who has served as the 50th Governor of Indiana since 2013. A member of the Republican Party, he previously ...more

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2
Paul Ryan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession
Paul Ryan Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (R) Paul Davis Ryan is an American politician and member of the Republican Party who has served as the United States Representative for Wisconsin's 1st congressional district since 1999 and as ...more

3
Orrin Hatch is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession
Orrin Hatch President pro tempore of the Senate (R) Orrin Grant Hatch is an American politician who is the President pro tempore of the United States Senate, serving since January 2015. A member of the Republican Party, he serves as the senior ...more

4
Rex Tillerson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession
Rex Tillerson

Secretary of State (R)

5
Steven Mnuchin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession
Steven Mnuchin

Secretary of the Treasury (R)

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

Secretary of Defense (R)

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

Attorney General (R)

Jefferson Beauregard "Jeff" Sessions III is the junior United States Senator from Alabama. First elected in 1996, Sessions is a member of the Republican Party. From 1981 to 1993 he ...more

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

Secretary of the Interior (R)

Ryan Zinke is an American politician and member of the Republican Party who served as a member of the Montana State Senate, representing Senate District 2 from 2009 to 2012. He is the Republican ...more

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

Secretary of Agriculture (R)

George Ervin "Sonny" Perdue III is an American politician who served as the 81st Governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011. Upon his inauguration in January 2003, he became the first ...more

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

Secretary of Commerce 

11
Alexander Acosta is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession
Alexander Acosta

Secretary of Labor

12
Don J. Wright is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession
Don J. Wright

Secretary of Health and Human Services (Acting)

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

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

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

Secretary of Transportation

Elaine Lan Chao is a Chinese-American politician who served as the 24th U.S. Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009. Born in Taiwan to Chinese parents, she was the ...more

15
Rick Perry is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession
Rick Perry

Secretary of Energy (R)

James Richard "Rick" Perry is an American Republican politician who served as the 47th Governor of Texas from 2000 to 2015. A Republican, he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in ...more

16
Betsy DeVos is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession
Betsy DeVos

Secretary of Education 

17
David Shulkin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession
David Shulkin

Secretary of Veterans Affairs  

18
Elaine Duke is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Current Presidential Line of Succession
Elaine Duke

Secretary of Homeland Security