I was in a McDonald’s recently which is very unusual, because I definitely don’t eat anything they sell. But it was convenient and I needed to kill some time, so I nursed an iced coffee for a bit. The real treat turned out to be two men at a nearby table. They seemed interesting so I put on my eavesdropping ears and tuned right in to their conversation.
The first topic was, what else, Trump v. Clinton. I was relieved to learn they are in Clinton’s corner. Then they started in on cabinet appointments. I don’t know if this is a uniquely Washington kind of conversation or if those outside the beltway analyze this stuff, but it’s fairly common here among a certain crowd. These guys did not seem typical for that crowd, but you never know.
Anyway, they started debating the best cabinet appointment; what they would want if they were up for that kind of thing. Again, not unusual, except for the criteria. They were basing their decisions on which appointments would be the coolest but still require the least amount of work. Huh? That is definitely not a DC attitude. We are obsessed with working, love it, give me more, please pretty please. And a lot of people particularly relish the prestige of a high end presidential appointment. So, huh?
They started with Attorney General, even while they speculated that you might have to be an attorney for that one, and apparently neither of them meet that particular criterion. But either way, too hard! Too much controversy, too much press to deal with, just too much work. Secretary of Defense? No way. No way in hell. Obviously lots of work, long hours, making big decisions that would require a lot of briefing. So, no.
Then there are just obvious choices to avoid: Energy, Housing, Homeland Security, VA. Transportation is probably risky too because things are kind of a mess. Labor, Education? Interesting choices but again, too much work. Lots of regulations and things to keep up with, and who has time for all that? They decide that Treasury would definitely be too hard, and run through a few other possibilities, which they rule out for one reason or another.
Hey, what about Secretary of State? That’s a good one. You get to travel a lot, meet interesting people, see the world for free! But, cautioned the other one, you have to travel. All the time. Frequently to places you really would prefer not to see or experience. So it’s not as good as it seems on the surface.
Wait a minute…got it! Secretary of the Interior! A stroke of brilliance. The only responsibility is national parks or something. Yes! The other guy speculated that under his watchful eye maybe they would add someone to Mt. Rushmore or something like that. You know, leave their mark. Fishing and hiking would basically be part of their job. Every day would be a vacation!
I breathed a sigh of relief that they had settled on something because my coffee was empty and I was down to just ice chips. That’s why when they started in on whether they would add FDR or JFK to Mt. Rushmore, I had to let it go. I’m sure the legacy Presidents would be OK with it though.
But now I’ve found a flaw in their plan. According to the reputable website www.dummies.com which as you can imagine I refer to quite a bit, the Secretary of the Interior is a mere seven heartbeats away from having to assume the presidency. It could happen you know, a bad case of a highly contagious flu or whatever? And then they’d be stuck holding the bag. And I feel pretty sure that being the president is hard work.
What is the order of presidential succession?
The Cabinet is crucial to the presidential line of succession that determines the order in which officials succeed to the presidency following the death or resignation of the President. The Vice President tops the order, followed by the Speaker of the House, then the President pro tempore of the Senate. The Cabinet officers succeed to the presidency in the following order:
- Secretary of State, Department of State
- Secretary of the Treasury, Department of the Treasury
- Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense
- Attorney General, Department of Justice
- Secretary of the Interior, Department of the Interior
- Secretary of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture
- Secretary of Commerce, Department of Commerce
- Secretary of Labor, Department of Labor
- Secretary of Health & Human Services, Department of Health and Human Services
- Secretary of Housing & Development, Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Secretary of Transportation, Department of Transportation
- Secretary of Energy, Department of Energy
- Secretary of Education, Department of Education
- Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs
- Secretary of Homeland Security, Department of Homeland Security