Cabinet Members Not in Attendance (Designated Survivor) from 1984, and Frequency By Department

Cabinet Members Who Did Not Attend the State of the Union Address ("Designated Survivor") 
Starting with Reagan (1984)

Date Official Department
Ronald Reagan


  January 25, 1984  Secretary Samuel R. Pierce Jr. Housing and Urban Development
  February 6, 1985  Secretary Malcolm Baldrige Commerce
  February 4, 1986  Secretary John Block Agriculture
  January 27, 1987  Secretary Richard Lyng Agriculture
  January 25, 1988  Secretary Donald P. Hodel Interior
George Bush      
  *February 9, 1989  None  
  January 31, 1990  Secretary Edward J. Derwinski Veterans Affairs
  January 29, 1991  Secretary Manuel Lujan Interior
  January 28, 1992  Secretary Ed Madigan Agriculture
William J. Clinton


  *February 17, 1993  Secretary Bruce Babbitt Interior
  January 25, 1994  Secretary Mike Epsy Agriculture
  January 24, 1995  Secretary Federico Pena Transportation
  January 23, 1996  Secretary Donna Shalala Health and Human Services
  February 4, 1997  Secretary Dan Glickman Agriculture
  January 27, 1998  Secretary Bill Daley Commerce
  January 19, 1999  Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo Housing and Urban Development
  January 27, 2000  Secretary Bill Richardson Energy
George W. Bush      
  *February 27, 2001  Secretary Anthony Principi Veterans Affairs
  January 29, 2002  Secretary Gale Norton Interior
  January 28, 2003  Attorney General John Ashcroft and Secretary Norman Mineta Justice and Transportation
  January 20, 2004  Secretary Donald Evans Commerce
  February 2, 2005  Secretary Donald Evans Commerce
  January 31, 2006  Secretary Jim Nicholson Veterans Affairs
  January 23, 2007  Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Justice
  January 28, 2008  Secretary Dirk Kempthorne Interior
Barack Obama


  *February 24, 2009  Attorney General Eric Holder Justice
  January 27, 2010  Secretary Hillary Clinton and
Secretary Shaun Donovan
(Donovan was the "designated survivor," but Clinton is ranked higher in the presidential line of succession and would have assumed the presidency in the event of calamity.)
State & Housing and Urban Development
  January 25, 2011  Secretary Ken Salazar Interior
  January 24, 2012  Secretary Tom Vilsack Agriculture
  February 12, 2013  Secretary Steven Chu Energy
  January 28, 2014  Secretary Ernest Moniz Energy
  January 20, 2015  Anthony Foxx Transportation
  January 12, 2016  Secretary Jeh Johnson Homeland Security
Donald J. Trump


  February 28, 2017  Secretary David Shulkin Veterans Affairs
  January 30, 2018 Secretary Sonny Perdue Agriculture
  February 5, 2019 Secretary Rick Perry Energy
  Fenruary 4, 2020 Secretary David Bernhardt Interior
Joseph R. Biden      
  April 28, 2021


In her April 27, 2021 press Briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated, “There does not need to be a designated survivor because the Cabinet will be watching from their offices or home, but they will not be joining him for the speech.”

Because the Secretary of State attended, Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, next in the presidential line of succession and not in attendance, was the de facto "designated survivor".

  March 1, 2022 Secretary Gina Raimondo Commerce
  February 7, 2023 Secretary Marty Walsh Labor
  March 7, 2024 Secretary Miguel Cardona Education

Frequency by Department
Department Frequency as Designated Survivor
State of the Union Addresses 1984-2024






Education 1



Health and Human Services


Homeland Security


Housing and Urban Development






Justice and Transportation


Labor 1

State & Housing and Urban Development




Veterans Affairs


* denotes addresses not considered official State of the Union messages
Data from 1984-2000 from Senate Historical Office.
Data from 2001-present by Gerhard Peters

Citation: Gerhard Peters. "Cabinet Members Who Did Not Attend the State of the Union Address." The American Presidency Project. Ed. John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters. Santa Barbara, CA: University of California. 1999-2024. Available from the World Wide Web: