Agriculture Secretary, Former GA governor selected as designated survivor

Agriculture Secretary and Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue (J. Scott Applewhite / AP file)

WASHINGTON (NBC News) — Thanks to a TV show of the same name, the process of selecting a designated survivor has found new popularity.

Nearly every Trump administration Cabinet member and both houses of Congress will attend President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.

But one official will remain separated from the commander in chief should a catastrophe happen.

According to White House Press House Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Sonny Perdue has been tapped as the designated survivor.

Perdue is the former Georgia governor and current Secretary of Agriculture. He is about six months younger than Trump.

Historians say records of designated survivors go back to at least the 1980s.

To be selected, the individual must be in the president’s cabinet, must be in a position part of the line of succession and must fall under the criteria to run for office (including being a natural born US citizen who is at least 35 years old).

Though he will be the odd man out for the State of the Union address, he is the ninth in line for succession.

Historically the appointed person comes from newer departments like veterans affairs, homeland security or energy.

According to Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, whittling down the list takes time.

It all depends on who in the cabinet needs to be at the particular event.

For example, Perry says that if a president is set to speak about a department in his speech, a cabinet secretary may need to be in the audience so cameras can pan to the individual.

Since 9/11, the Senate has also named its own designated survivor to keep that branch of the government operating should a doomsday scenario occur.

Read more from NBC News here.

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