US Secy. Miguel Cardona is Biden's designated survivor during address

The education secretary, who is 16th in line to the presidency, was designated survivor during President Biden's State of the Union speech.

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
AP Photo/Steven Senne

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona was the designated survivor during President Joe Biden's State of the Union address before Congress on Thursday night. Security protocol put Cardona in that position by virtue of his not attending the Capitol with other members of the president's Cabinet. At 16th in the line of succession to the presidency, Cardona was the highest ranking member of the executive branch who did not attend the State of the Union address.

In 2023, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh served in the role, which is a step the U.S. government takes to protect the presidency in the case of a catastrophic event at the U.S. Capitol as such a large number of powerful politicians congregate together in one room. 

Biden to announce plan for temporary Gaza port for humanitarian aid
Biden to announce plan for temporary Gaza port for humanitarian aid

Biden to announce plan for temporary Gaza port for humanitarian aid

The project would build a pier that's intended to help facilitate a significant increase in shipments of food, medicine and other essential items.


The tradition places a member of the president's Cabinet in an undisclosed location as the president delivers the constitutionally required State of the Union speech updating Congress on the executive branch's successes and work done. 

Vice President Kamala Harris sat behind President Biden in the House chamber as he stood at the lectern speaking to lawmakers and others. 

Before the address, Secretary Deb Haaland shared a photo on social media with herself and other members of the cabinet writing, "Grateful for another year with an amazing cabinet dedicated to public service and achieving @POTUS’ ambitious goals!"

The photo was shared before the designated survivor was announced, and Cardona was not included in the photo.