How hard is it being Chief of State?

Roles of the President

There are many names for the President of the USA depending on his role at the time.

While he will always be “Mr. President”, no matter the situation, the more specific role can change significantly.

One of these roles is Chief of State, but what does this mean?

What is the Chief of State?

Simply put, Chief of State is another term for Head of State. The President adopts this role when acting as a representative of the US on foreign visits or at major events.

The role also gives him the chance to enjoy and hold lavish state visits.

The role of the President involves many different duties.

Once a candidate is inaugurated as President of the United States, they actually take on several different roles.

That is because there are various powers of the presidency and this leads to command in authority in very different fields. Those powers include the following:

  1. To either sign or veto legislation presented to them.
  2. To convene or adjourn Congress.
  3. To give pardons.
  4. To give commands to the US armed forces.
  5. To meet with foreign ambassadors and dignitaries.

The ability to give certain commands to the US Armed Forces falls to the Commander in Chief of the USA.

The role of meeting foreign dignitaries and acting as a representative of the USA falls to the Chief of State.

The President holds both these roles.

Examples of Chief of State Roles

The role of the Chief of State is a lot like that of the Head of State. These figures are leading ambassadors for their country and take part in a range of events both at home and abroad.

Common events that the President may attend as Chief of State include the following.

  1. Important funerals and memorial services.
  2. Attending other events as a representative of the USA.
  3. Holding and embarking on state visits.
  4. Holding fun publicity events at the Whitehouse.

1) Important funerals and memorial services.

This is important for any President as the leader of the US and as Commander in Chief. They need to show their support during memorial services. This is especially true for Veterans and Memorial Day events.

They may also travel to other countries for the specific anniversary of key events or battles to lay flags or wreaths.

The American involvement in WWII means strong ties to those allied countries and their own events. The President may also attend funerals of military personnel or other leading figures.

2) Attending other events as a representative of the USA.

There are also more positive events that the President may attend. Royal weddings and major world sporting events often require an ambassador from the US.

Smaller national sporting events could also be a great photo opportunity, such as the chance to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game.

There will also be cultural events and grand openings to take part in, such as exhibitions and concerts. This may be part of a diplomatic process with representatives from other nations.

3) Holding and embarking on state visits.

Sometimes, the President will take a longer trip to a country as a State Visit. This is a chance for him to go and do some political business, but also to meet with other Heads of State, royalty, and key figures.

Like so many of these roles, this is a lot about creating a good public image and opportunities for photos that will make the front page. Presidents can end up at palaces and fancy dinners and receptions with the First Lady.

They often get gifts out of it as symbols of goodwill between countries.

Chief of State Hosting Foreign Leaders

Of course, there will be times when the President is expected to return the favor. Other foreign leaders will travel to Washington and expect the same opulence and gifts at the Whitehouse.

4) Holding fun publicity events at the Whitehouse.

Finally, one of the more enjoyable parts of the job is when the President gets to invite people to the Whitehouse, meet with them, and celebrate their success.

It isn’t uncommon for sports teams to receive invitations to the Whitehouse as an extra prize for winning a tournament or cup. This is also great publicity for the President and a chance to show a more fun side away from all the politics.

Not all countries have a Chief of State with this many roles to juggle.

Not all countries have their political leader as their Head or Chief of State. The best examples are countries where there is an active President or Prime Minister in power, but also a monarch.

In these cases, the role of Head of State is often purely symbolic and they act more as a representative than a figure with any real power.

The Queen as Head of State

In the UK, the Queen is the Head of State, and she used to take part in a lot of foreign visits and public events across the country.

Her political power is limited, as she acts under the advice of her government. However, elected leaders do have to go to the palace to seek formal permission to form a government.

There may also be symbolic Chiefs of State.

The problem with having your Political leader and Commander in Chief as Chief of State is that they can’t be everywhere at the same time. There will be times where ceremonies clash with important duties and staffers need to prioritize the President’s schedule.

In this situation, a symbolic Chief of State may attend in their place. This shows that the Whitehouse still values the event or memorial and doesn’t want to pull out completely.

Prime candidates for the job are the Vice President or the First Lady.

In short, while it is uncommon for one world leader to have so many titles and roles, the President can often juggle an array of duties on his schedule. This status of Chief of State is important and ensures that he is always the leader that other nations look toward, whatever the situation.


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