Today marks an historic moment in American politics, as Donald Trump will take up residency in the White House as the leader of the Free World.
After a divisive election campaign and the ensuing rage spurned by his victory, concerns have been raised over Donald Trump’s safety.
But due to a quirk in the American succession policies, questions have been raised over who would take charge if Trump were to be assassinated on this Inauguration Day, under the watchful gaze of the world.
Ironically, one of Obama’s cabinet members would take up the mantle if Trump was incapacitated. According to the Constitution, if the President and Vice-President are assassinated or unable to fulfil duties in any way, next in line to lead the Free World is the House Speaker.
In the event of a tragedy in which all three were to be incapacitated, the responsibilities would fall to Cabinet members, starting with the Secretary of State.
As a precaution, a Cabinet Secretary – otherwise known in this context as the Designated Presidential Successor – will not attend the inauguration in readiness to step in if an assassination should occur.
Unusually, this would not be a Trump cabinet secretary since none of them have been confirmed yet. Donald Trump is expected to formally nominate Rex Tillerson, but this may not be confirmed for another week or two.
While CNN reports there has been no specific or credible assassination threat to any American political leaders in the lead up to today’s events, 28,000 security personnel will be on the ground in Washington to ensure this Inauguration will remain peaceful.