Outgoing Labor Secretary Marty Walsh was named as the designated survivor for President Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, the White House announced.
The so-called designated survivor is the one Cabinet member who does attend the speech so he or she can take charge in the event an unforeseen tragedy or attack wipes out or incapacitates the rest of the government officials gathered for the speech.
Last year, the designated survivor was Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
The tradition of appointing a designated survivor began in the 1950s, when the threat of a nuclear war between the U.S. and Soviet Union loomed over the nation during the Cold War. President Reagan was the first to publicly identify the designated survivor in 1981. That year, it was Terrell Bell, who was Reagan’s secretary of education.
Mr. Walsh is expected to resign in the coming days to lead the National Hockey League’s Players Association. His formal appointment by the NHLPA is expected in the days following the State of the Union address.
• Joseph Clark contributed to this report.