Previously, I asked about an incoming President-elect and his Cabinet. However, there's another situation where a new person takes office, in a much more abrupt manner.

In the case of death, resignation, or impeachment of the current President, what happens to their Cabinet (and other advice-and-consent positions)? Does their successor inherit the same Cabinet automatically, or does the new President have to re-appoint anyone they want to keep? And is there any precedent for the new President to immediately replace people with their own picks, or is it a more gradual transition (if at all)?


The most recent examples of abrupt transitions were Nixon->Ford in 1974, and Kennedy->Johnson in 1963. Wikipedia contains pages that summarize each president's cabinet. Comparing the cabinets across the transitions shows that the incoming president's cabinet exactly matches the outgoing president's. Remember that this type of transition is always within the same party, and so there is less incentive to replace everyone. More importantly, a newly elected president has 10 weeks to put together a team before he is inaugurated, whereas a president taking over abruptly needs to keep the government moving without a two month "time-out". Cabinet members can be replaced over time, but the existing cabinet will always remain in place over an unscheduled transition.

Kennedy Cabinet
Johnson Cabinet
Nixon Cabinet
Ford Cabinet

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