Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue speaks Jan. 8, 2018, to the participants in the American Farm Bureau Federation convention before the president's speech later in the day in Nashville.

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

The White House confirmed the former Georgia governor is the event’s ‘designated survivor.’ He has been taken to a secure, undisclosed location where he can assume power should an unspeakable disaster occur while the president delivers his speech. 

The tradition of leaving a single Cabinet secretary behind dates back to the Cold War years, when fear of a nuclear holocaust was never far from the foreground. The responsibility now is typically bestowed upon the heads of lower profile federal departments, though Washington types love to dissect what a person’s selection means about how they are viewed within the administration. 

Perdue appears to enjoy a relatively chummy relationship with Trump. He told reporters last month that the president “has high expectations, and frankly I’m challenged by those high expectations.” 

Last year’s designated survivor was VA Secretary David Shulkin. 

Perdue is scheduled to be in Atlanta tomorrow morning for an agriculture expo at the World Congress Center. 

Read more: 

Georgia lawmakers aim to send political messages at State of the Union

War of words rages as some Ga. Dems plan to skip Trump’s State of the Union

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that...

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