WASHINGTON, Mar 1: Veterans Affairs chief David Shulkin was absent from President Donald Trump’s address to Congress, as he was chosen to be “designated survivor,” the White House said.
It is a longstanding US custom for a member of the cabinet to stay away from the Capitol during presidents’ addresses to Congress, also attended by the vice president and cabinet members and lawmakers. This is done so that someone would be left to lead in the event of some major tragedy or attack.
Shulkin, by tradition, was to stay in a secure, undisclosed location ready to take the reins of government – just in case.
The tradition is a legacy of the Cold War. Lower-profile members of the cabinet usually do “designated survivor” duty. (AGENCIES)