Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is tonight's designated survivor for the State of the Union address

Key Points
  • Sonny Perdue is the designated survivor for the State of the Union.
  • Perdue, a former Georgia governor and currently Agriculture secretary, is six months younger than President Donald Trump.
  • Perdue is the ninth Cabinet official in line for presidential succession.
Sonny Perdue, U.S. secretary of agriculture
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

It's a morbid thought, but it must be considered.

Nearly every Trump administration Cabinet member — not to mention both houses of Congress — will be packed into the same room for President Donald Trump's State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Security for the speech, Trump's first such address since taking office last January, will no doubt be tight. But on the tiny chance that a lethal attack on the Capitol takes out the president, his Cabinet and lawmakers in the line of succession, one official must remain separated from the commander in chief.

For Tuesday's State of the Union address, that official is Sonny Perdue.

a former Georgia governor and current secretary of Agriculture, Perdue is the designated survivor for the event, according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

At 71 years old, Perdue is about six months younger than Trump. He was the last Cabinet position announced before Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017.

But while Perdue will be the odd man out for the State of the Union address, he isn't the last in line for succession — actually, he's the ninth.

The official order, according to the Presidential Succession Act signed into law in 1947, is as follows:

  1. Vice President Mike Pence
  2. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan
  3. President pro tempore Sen. Orrin Hatch
  4. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
  5. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
  6. Defense Secretary James Mattis
  7. Attorney General Jeff Sessions
  8. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke
  9. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue
  10. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross
  11. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta
  12. Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan
  13. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson
  14. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao
  15. Energy Secretary Rick Perry
  16. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos
  17. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin
  18. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen