Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”
How to Address a Former Vice President?
The current vice president is addressed orally as Mr. Vice President and referred to as The Vice President. Traditionally being vice president is a one-person-at-a-time office and former officials don’t continue to be so addressed when they leave office.
However, in the popular view vice president is a permanent rank one attains and keeps. Thus many think that the former office holder is Vice President (Name) forever.
You will have noted this in the media where former vice presidents are addressed, and referred to, as Vice President (Name). For a reporter this informs the viewer/reader of what office this person once held. But it can be misleading. Aware reporters are quick to note their ‘former’ status so no one mistakenly thinks they are the current office holder.
Some former office holders insist upon being addressed as Vice President (Name) in their post-office private endeavors. Most of the time it doesn’t create confusion and it strokes their ego, but at an official event one should avoid addressing a former vice president as Vice President (Name) — especially when the current office holder is present.
The Honorable (Full Name)
* Dick Cheney was as member of the House of Representatives formally Mr. (Surname) in writing – so he formally is: Dear Mr. (Surname):
* Albert Gore would formally go back to his highest former honorific … Dear Senator (Surname):
———-— Robert Hickey