On Tuesday, most of the nation's political elite -- from Vice President Mike Pence to House Speaker Paul Ryan -- will file into the House chamber to hear President Trump outline his national agenda. But a single member of the administration definitely will not be watching in person.
During big presidential addresses, the administration isolates one particular cabinet-level official in an undisclosed location. That person requires handle if a disaster were to wipe out all those in the presidential line of succession.
Ordinarily selected by the president's chief-of-staff, the identity of the so-named "designated survivor" is kept secret until shortly just before the event.
If the president dies or is removed from workplace, he's succeeded by the vice president, followed by the speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate, presently Utah Republican Orrin Hatch. According to the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, the president pro tempore is followed, in order, by the secretaries of state, treasury, and defense, the lawyer common, and the secretaries of the interior, agriculture, commerce, labor, well being and human solutions, housing and urban development, transportation, power, education, veterans affairs and homeland security.
According to historians, the practice dates back to the 1960s, when the nation, rocked by the Cold War, started fearing a nuclear attack. It was not till the 1980s, even so, that the survivors' identities became matter of public record.
Prior to the attacks on the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, the designated survivor had a fairly relaxed evening. A single survivor recalled spending the evening with his daughter, whilst a further hosted a pizza party in the White Property.
But post-9/11, safety was beefed up: the designated survivor now undergoes hours of briefings and even practices disaster scenarios. Shortly ahead of the president's speech, the designated survivor is whisked out of the nation's capital, accompanied by presidential-level safety and a military aide carrying the "football," a briefcase that houses the nuclear launch codes.
For the duration of President Trump's inauguration in January, then-President Obama's secretary of homeland security, Jeh Johnson, served as the designated survivor.
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