Who’s Biden’s designated survivor this time?

By Robin Bravender | 03/07/2024 04:12 PM EST

It’s time for a favorite parlor game among political junkies. 

President Joe Biden arrives to board Air Force One.

President Joe Biden arrives to board Air Force One on Tuesday in Hagerstown, Maryland. Alex Brandon/AP

Will an energy or climate expert hide out in an undisclosed location during Thursday night’s State of the Union address?

When President Joe Biden gives his annual speech before Congress, one of his top officials will hunker down away from the U.S. Capitol in case catastrophe strikes. That means it’s time again for a favorite parlor game among political wonks: predicting the evening’s designated survivor.

There’s a chance that the designated survivor could be a Cabinet member with an extensive energy and environment portfolio, although two top Biden officials are out of the running. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was born in Canada, and EPA Administrator Michael Regan isn’t in the presidential line of succession.


Labor Secretary Marty Walsh was Biden’s designated survivor during last year’s State of the Union, but he has since stepped down from his post. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo sat out Biden’s 2022 address. When Biden gave his first address to a joint session of Congress (which wasn’t technically a State of the Union speech) in 2021, no designated survivor was named because Covid-19 protocols meant many Cabinet officials were watching from outside the Capitol.