ST. GEORGE — As the nation gathered for the inauguration ceremony for President Donald Trump Friday, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch was sequestered in an undisclosed location, serving as the nation’s designated survivor.
The designated successor – a position recently made popular by ABC’s hit drama “Designated Survivor” – is a person in the presidential line of succession who is held in a secure and undisclosed location when the president and other top leaders in the nation are gathered in one place, such as the 2017 Presidential Inauguration, a State of the Union address or a presidential address to a joint session of Congress.
The intended purpose is to guarantee there will be somebody who is in the presidential line of succession ready to take charge should – in a worst-case scenario – a catastrophic event kill the president, vice president and other top-ranking officials.
In such an occurrence, under the Presidential Succession Act, the surviving official highest in line would become the acting president of the United States.
As the President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, Hatch, a seven-term Utah Republican, is currently third in line in succession to the presidency, after the vice president and speaker of the House of Representatives.
In a statement issued Friday, Hatch said that as much as he would have liked to participate in the inauguration ceremony and festivities, he was honored to perform the “important constitutional duty, which ensures the continuity of government.”
“Today, we observe a time-honored tradition of the world’s oldest democracy: the peaceful transition of power,” Hatch said. “This changing of the guard from one president to another is a defining feature of our Republic. At the request of President Donald Trump, I am honored to fulfill the role of designated presidential successor during the inauguration.”
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