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Sonny Perdue is designated survivor for Trump's State of the Union

Sonny Perdue is designated survivor for Trump's State of the Union

Update:This year's designated survivor will be Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

The White House announced just before Tuesday's speech that Perdue would skip the State of the Union address in the House chamber at the Capitol and instead spend the evening in a secure and undisclosed location.

Last year, when Trump addressed his first joint session of Congress, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin filled the position. In the event of a catastrophic event, that person could be tapped to serve as acting president. Also absent will be the so-called "designated survivor", who will be named ahead of Trump's 9 p.m. ET address to Congress.

According to the Senate Historical Office, the practice dates to at least the early 1960s "and perhaps much earlier".

Only cabinet members who are eligible to serve as president - meaning they must be natural-born citizens, over the age of 35 and lived in the US for at least 14 years - can be designated survivors.

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The last 16 designated survivors have been men, and only two women have been selected in the past 24 years.

Perdue, who was Governor of Georgia from 2003 through 2011, is ninth in line to assume the presidency under the 1947 presidential succession act.

Dan Glickman, the former secretary of agriculture, left Washington, D.C., to visit his daughter in NY for Clinton's 1997 State of the Union.

The most immediate responsibility of the designated survivor is to accompany the "football", a 45-pound briefcase that contains a list of nuclear strike options and travels with the president's security detail at all times. Although she was not the official designated survivor, the job of president would have gone to her as she outranked the designated survivor, Shaun Donovan, the Housing secretary.