U.S. Presidential line of succession

order by which officers of the US government fill the office of president

The United States Presidential line of succession is the order in which government officials replace the president of the United States if the president leaves office before an elected successor is inaugurated. If the President dies, resigns or is removed from office, the Vice President becomes President for the rest of the term. If the Vice President is unable to serve, Speaker of the House acts as President.

Previous lines of successionEdit

The United States Constitution says that the Vice President of the United States is the person who will replace the President if the President is not able to continue.[1] It is very important to know who the new president will be if they are not able to serve any longer.

The laws about succession (after the Vice President) were first created in 1792. The second in line, after the Vice President was the leader of the Senate. The next in line was the Speaker of the House of Representatives. In 1868, during the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, Benjamin Wade was the leader of the Senate. He almost became president, but Johnson was found not guilty by one vote. Johnson had been the Vice President for Abraham Lincoln. He became President after the assassination of Lincoln. Because of Lincoln's assassination, there was no Vice President at the time.

In 1886, after the death of Vice President Thomas A. Hendricks, Congress passed a law that took out the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives from the line of succession.[2] The new person behind the Vice President in line was Secretary of State, followed by other Cabinet members. The leaders of the Senate and House were restored to the line of succession by the Presidential Succession Act of 1947.[2]

Present line of successionEdit

Below is the current line of succession for the President of the United States:

No. Office[3] Incumbent Party
1 Vice President Kamala Harris Democratic
2 Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi Democratic
3 President pro tempore of the Senate Patrick Leahy Democratic
4 Secretary of State Antony Blinken Democratic
5 Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen Democratic
6 Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin Independent
7 Attorney General Merrick Garland Independent
8 Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland Democratic
9 Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Democratic
10 Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo Democratic
11 Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh Democratic
12 Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra Democratic
13 Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge Democratic
14 Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg Democratic
Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm[A] Democratic
15 Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona Democratic
16 Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough Democratic
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas[B] Democratic


  1. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm is ineligible to become acting president, as she is not a natural-born U.S. citizen. Granholm's citizenship was acquired through naturalization.
  2. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas is ineligible to become acting president, as he is not a natural-born U.S. citizen. Mayorkas' citizenship was acquired through naturalization.


  1. See United States Constitution, Amendment XXV.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Succession to the Presidency - A Chronology". Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  3. Lord, Debbie (June 18, 2018). "A president resigns, dies or is impeached: What is the line of succession?". WFTV.com. Cox Media Group. Retrieved June 18, 2018.

Other websitesEdit