Labor Secretary Marty Walsh is the designated survivor for President Biden’s State of the Union address, according to a White House official.
Walsh as Labor secretary is the 11th in the presidential line of succession. Walsh is expected to step down from his job in the Biden administration to take over as head of the National Hockey League Players’ Association, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to The Hill earlier on Tuesday. He will be the first Senate-confirmed Cabinet official in the line of succession to leave the White House since Biden took office.
The designated survivor tradition involves a member of the president’s Cabinet staying at an undisclosed location during the State of the Union to preserve the government’s succession in the case of a catastrophic incident during the address at the Capitol. Vice President Harris and other Cabinet members are in attendance for the speech.
As Labor secretary, Walsh was at the forefront of Biden’s efforts to fulfill his pledge to be the most pro-union president in history, meeting frequently with union workers, including those on strike.
Walsh played a key role in negotiations between railroad operators and union workers to avoid a strike that officials said would have crippled the U.S. supply chain and damaged the economy. Congress eventually voted to impose a contract to avoid a strike after negotiations initially faltered.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland shared a photograph 45 minutes before the start of the address with fellow members of the Cabinet, with Walsh missing.
“The progress we have made together over the past two years is unmistakable. Looking forward to @POTUS’ State of the Union address tonight. #SOTU,” Halaand wrote. The Interior secretary also shared a photograph of herself and other members of the Cabinet ahead of the last State of the Union.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo was the designated survivor for the president’s State of the Union address in 2022. The secretary of Commerce is 10th in the presidential line of succession.