Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will not be in the House chamber Tuesday as President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.
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.
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