Presidents, Vice Presidents, and First Ladies of the United States

Find contact information and other facts about Presidents, Vice Presidents, and First Ladies, past and present.

President of the United States

The president of the United States is the head of state of the U.S., the chief executive of the federal government, and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The United States was the first nation to create the office of president as the head of state in a modern republic. 

Current President

The 45th and current president of the United States is Donald J. Trump. He was sworn in on January 20, 2017.

Requirements to Hold Office

According to Article II of the U.S. Constitution, the president must be a natural-born citizen of the United States, be at least 35 years old, and have been a resident of the United States for 14 years.

State of the Union Address 

The U.S. Constitution requires the president to give Congress a State of the Union, which is a report that addresses a president's legislative proposals and other plans for the country. There is no requirement stating what form or how often the report occurs; however, it normally occurs annually in the last week of January.

Contact the President

The president does not have a public direct telephone number. You can contact the White House by submitting your comments or questions online.

Vice President of the United States

The vice president of the United States of America is the president of the Senate, and takes over the role of president if the president is unable to perform his or her duties. The vice president will become president if:

  • The president dies
  • The president resigns
  • The president is temporarily incapacitated
  • The vice president and a majority of the Cabinet judge that the president is no longer able to discharge the duties of the presidency

Current Vice President 

The 48th and current vice president of the United States is Michael R. Pence. He was sworn in for a four-year term on January 20, 2017. 

Contact the Vice President

The vice president does not have a public direct telephone number. You can fill in an online form with comments.

Overview of the Presidential Election Process

An election for president of the United States happens every four years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The next presidential election will be November 3, 2020.

Primaries, Caucuses, and Political Conventions

The election process begins with primary elections and caucuses. These are two methods that states use to select a potential presidential nominee Nominee: The final candidate chosen by a party to represent them in an election.. In general, primaries use secret ballots for voting. Caucuses are local gatherings of voters who vote at the end of the meeting for a particular candidate. Then it moves to nominating conventions, during which political parties each select a nominee to unite behind. During a political party convention, each presidential nominee also announces a vice presidential running mate. The candidates then campaign across the country to explain their views and plans to voters. They may also participate in debates with candidates from other parties.

What is the Role of the Electoral College?

During the general election General Election: A final election for a political office with a limited list of candidates. , Americans go to their polling place Polling Place: The location in which you cast your vote. to cast their vote for president. But the tally of those votes—the popular vote—does not determine the winner. Instead, presidential elections use the Electoral College. To win the election, a candidate must receive a majority of electoral votes. In the event no candidate receives a majority, the House of Representatives chooses the president and the Senate chooses the vice president.

What is a Typical Presidential Election Cycle?

The presidential election process follows a typical cycle:

  • Spring of the year before an election – Candidates announce their intentions to run.

  • Summer of the year before an election through spring of the election year – Primary and caucus Caucus: A statewide meeting held by members of a political party to choose a Presidential candidate to support. debates take place.

  • January to June of election year – States and parties hold primaries Primary: An election held to determine which of a party's candidates will receive that party's nomination and be their sole candidate later in the general election. and caucuses.

  • July to early September – Parties hold nominating conventions to choose their candidates.

  • September and October – Candidates participate in presidential debates.

  • Early November – Election Day

  • December – Electors Elector: A person who is certified to represent their state's vote in the Electoral College. cast their votes in the Electoral College.

  • Early January of the next calendar year – Congress counts the electoral votes.

  • January 20 – Inauguration Day

For an in-depth look at the federal election process in the U.S., check out USA In Brief: ELECTIONS.

First Ladies

The First Lady of the United States has traditionally been the wife or other close female relative of the president of the United States. First Ladies are the hostesses of the White House, serve as advisors to the president, and are often involved in social issues. Over the course of American history, the role of the First Lady has changed and evolved.

The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, features a First Ladies exhibition, one of the museum's most popular attractions. Its virtual First Ladies interactive tour provides a visual experience of the First Ladies' gowns and other artifacts. 

Current First Lady

The current First Lady of the United States is Melania Trump.

Former U.S. Presidents

There are currently four living former U.S. presidents. Three of the former presidents have a presidential library where you can view important historical documents and explore interactive online exhibits. The presidential library of former President Barack Obama is being planned.

Information on former presidents is available from the Library of Congress.

Contact Former Presidents 

You can send mail and sometimes email to some of the living former U.S. presidents:

Contact the office of former President Barack Obama.

Find the contact information for former President George W. Bush

To contact former President Bill Clinton, send a letter to:

           The Honorable William J. Clinton
           55 West 125th Street
           New York NY 10027

Find the contact information for former President Jimmy Carter.

Format and Salutations

When sending letters to former presidents, the proper form for addressing the envelope is:
The Honorable (president's name)

The proper form for the salutation in the letter is:
Dear Mr. (president's last name)

Learn about presidential libraries and museums.

Order of Presidential Succession

The U.S. Constitution and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 outline the presidential order of succession. The line of succession of cabinet officers is in the order of their agencies’ creation.

If the President of the United States is incapacitated, dies, resigns, is for any reason unable to hold his/her office, or is removed from office, he/she will be replaced in the following order:

  1. Vice President
  2. Speaker of the House
  3. President Pro Tempore of the Senate
  4. Secretary of State
  5. Secretary of the Treasury
  6. Secretary of Defense
  7. Attorney General
  8. Secretary of the Interior
  9. Secretary of Agriculture
  10. Secretary of Commerce
  11. Secretary of Labor
  12. Secretary of Health and Human Services
  13. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  14. Secretary of Transportation
  15. Secretary of Energy
  16. Secretary of Education
  17. Secretary of Veterans Affairs
  18. Secretary of Homeland Security

Presidential Greetings, Photographs, and Invitations

White House Greetings Request

Contact the White House to request a presidential greeting. 

Photo Requests

You can purchase official portraits of the president and vice president online.

Invitations for the White House and All Other Requests

If you would like to extend an invitation to, have questions for, or would like information about the president, the White House, or the status of a request, contact the White House.

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Last Updated: July 8, 2019