Order of Presidential Succession - Trump Administration

Updated June 8, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
Order of Presidential Succession - Trump Administration - The White House is pictured


According to the Presidential Succession Act of 1792, the Senate president pro tempore1 was next in line after the vice president to succeed to the presidency, followed by the Speaker of the House.

In 1886, however, Congress changed the order of presidential succession, replacing the president pro tempore and the Speaker with the cabinet officers. Proponents of this change argued that the congressional leaders lacked executive experience, and none had served as president, while six former secretaries of state had later been elected to that office.

The Presidential Succession Act of 1947, signed by President Harry Truman, changed the order again to what it is today. The cabinet members are ordered in the line of succession according to the date their offices were established.

Prior to the ratification of the 25th Amendment in 1967, there was no provision for filling a vacancy in the vice presidency. When a president died in office, the vice president succeeded him, and the vice presidency then remained vacant. The first vice president to take office under the new procedure was Gerald Ford, who was nominated by Nixon on Oct. 12, 1973, and confirmed by Congress the following Dec. 6.

While the order is the same as in previous administrations, Infoplease has provided the succession order with the names of government officials serving in the current administration.


The Vice PresidentMike Pence
Speaker of the HousePaul Ryan
President pro tempore of the SenateOrrin Hatch
Secretary of StateRex W. Tillerson
Secretary of the TreasurySteven Mnuchin
Secretary of DefenseJames Mattis
Attorney GeneralJeff Sessions
Secretary of the InteriorRyan Zinke
Secretary of AgricultureSonny Perdue
Secretary of CommerceWilbur Ross
Secretary of LaborR. Alexander Acosta
Secretary of Health and Human ServicesThomas E. Price
Secretary of Housing and Urban DevelopmentBen Carson
Secretary of TransportationElaine L. Chao
Secretary of EnergyRick Perry
Secretary of EducationBetsy DeVos
Secretary of Veterans AffairsDavid J. Shulkin
Secretary of Homeland SecurityJohn F. Kelly


NOTE: An official cannot succeed to the Presidency unless that person meets the Constitutional requirements.

1. The president pro tempore presides over the Senate when the vice president is absent. The president pro tempore is elected by the Senate, but by tradition the position is held by the senior member of the majority party.

See also: