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 Pence (born June 7, 1959) is an American politician and lawyer serving as the 48th and current Vice President of the United States, since January 20, 2017. He previously was the ...more

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 Jr. (born January 29, 1970) is an American politician serving as the 54th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives since 2015. He was the Republican Party nominee ...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 (born March 22, 1934) is an American attorney and politician serving as the senior United States Senator for Utah who has been the President pro tempore of the United States ...more

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

Secretary of State (R)

Michael Richard Pompeo (born December 30, 1963) is an American politician and intelligence officer serving as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency since January 23, 2017 after being ...more

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

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

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

Secretary of Defense (I)

James Norman Mattis (born September 8, 1950) is a retired United States Marine Corps general who is the 26th and current United States Secretary of Defense, serving in the Cabinet of Donald ...more

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

Attorney General (R)

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (born December 24, 1946) is an American politician and lawyer serving as the 84th and current Attorney General of the United States since 2017. Sessions was a ...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 Keith Zinke (born November 1, 1961) is an American politician and businessman serving as the 52nd and current United States Secretary of the Interior since 2017, in the Cabinet of Donald ...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 (born December 20, 1946) is an American politician serving as the 31st and current United States Secretary of Agriculture since 2017. Perdue previously ...more

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

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, President-elect Donald Trump announced that he ...more

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

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

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

Secretary of Health and Human Services (R)

Alex Michael Azar II (born June 17, 1967) is an American lawyer and former drug company executive who is the current United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, after being nominated ...more

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 (R)

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

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

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

Elaine Lan Chao (born March 26, 1953) is the 18th and current United States Secretary of Transportation. A member of the Republican Party, she was previously a cabinet member in 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 (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

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

Secretary of Education (R)

Elisabeth Dee DeVos (born January 8, 1958) is an American businesswoman, philanthropist, politician, and the United States Secretary of Education. DeVos is a Republican known for her support for ...more

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

Secretary of Veterans Affairs (R)

Robert Leon Wilkie is an American lawyer who served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. An intelligence officer in the United States Naval Reserve, he was nominated ...more

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

Secretary of Homeland Security (I)