The history of the ‘designated survivor’ at the State of the Union address

(CNN NEWSOURCE) — President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday will be attended by nearly every influential federal official in Washington…except one — the “designated survivor.”

That person will be a high-ranking official who stays in an undisclosed secure location, away from the Capitol during the president’s speech.

The designated survivor ritual is meant to maintain the line of presidential succession in the rare case that a major disaster strikes the U.S. Capitol.

The designated survivor must be eligible to be president.

So, naturalized U.S. citizens like current Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas cannot serve as the designated survivor.

We don’t know yet who will serve this year; last year it was Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

According to CNN, the U.S. attorney general has been the highest-ranking cabinet member known to be a designated survivor.

According to the National Constitution Center, the tradition of having a designated survivor during the state of the union speech began in the 1950s amid Cold War fears of a nuclear attack.

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