This Man Is the State of the Unions Designated Survivor

21 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Designated survivor’ Anthony Foxx to sit out State of the Union address.

While the rest of the government attends Obama’s big speech, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (and the nuclear codes) will spend Tuesday night far from the Capitol. If the unthinkable happens on Tuesday night and the Capitol is destroyed in the type of scenario that only occurs in a Michael Bay movie, Anthony Foxx will be the leader who rebuilds a shattered country. That’s because he’s been tapped as the “designated survivor” for this year’s address, the cabinet member who is deliberately kept away from the speech, Fox News has learned. The ritual of “designated survivor” is no pejorative comment about the president’s rhetorical skills by way of a single minister spared the speech, but rather a failsafe designed to guard against an almost unthinkable catastrophe striking the Capitol – and the collected branches of the US government with it. It’s customary for one member of the cabinet, in the line of succession, to be held out of the State of the Union to help maintain continuity of government in case of a mass casualty event at the Capitol, as practically the entire U.S. government is there for the speech.

Mr Foxx was chosen by the White House chief of staff amid plenty of specuation about who might get the job and takes up the mantle from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in 2014. The tradition of a designated survivor dates back to the Cold War, when there were fears that a surprise Soviet nuclear attack could decapitate the government and leave the United States vulnerable to a Russian invasion. Foxx’s selection comes as transportation and infrastructure have dropped from the list of administration priorities, as the Republicans and Democrats have been unable to agree on funding sources. Other previous ‘survivors’ include Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, USA Today reports.

Foxx, who was formerly the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, and was appointed transportation secretary in 2013, will be guarded by a full secret service unit for the night. It’s a departure from the usual chain of command which goes to the Vice President, Speaker of the House then President Pro Tempore of the Senate in the case that something happens to the President.

If these three also die power will then pass to the Secretary of State then Treasury and Defence, before the Attorney General and so on down a designated list. Foxx would typically be 14th in line to assume the presidency, but current Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is ineligible because she was born in the U.K. And if not, he’ll at least get the experience of knowing what it’s like to be president for day …only without the power and the fringe benefits.

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