I am in Control Day is celebrated on March 30th of each year. According to Holiday Insights, I am in Control Day originated in remembrance of Secretary of State Alexander Haig’s famous statement, “I am in control here.” spoken in an interview March 30, 1981 when President Ronald Reagan was wounded in an assassination attempt.
In 1981, following the March 30 assassination attempt on Reagan, Haig asserted before reporters “I am in control here” as a result of Reagan’s hospitalization.
Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the President, the Vice President and the Secretary of State in that order, and should the President decide he wants to transfer the helm to the Vice President, he will do so. He has not done that. As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending return of the Vice President and in close touch with him. If something came up, I would check with him, of course.
—Alexander Haig, Alexander Haig, autobiographical profile in TIME Magazine, April 2, 1984
Haig was incorrect in his interpretation of the U.S. Constitution concerning both the presidential line of succession and the 25th Amendment, which dictates what happens when a president is incapacitated. However, the holders of the two offices between the Vice President and the Secretary of State, the Speaker of the House (at the time, Tip O’Neill) and the President pro tempore of the Senate (at the time, Strom Thurmond), would be required under U.S. law (3 U.S.C. § 19) to resign their positions in order for either of them to become acting President – an unlikely event, considering that Vice President Bush was merely not immediately available – so Haig’s statement reflected political reality, if not necessarily legal reality. Haig later said,
I wasn’t talking about transition. I was talking about the executive branch, who is running the government. That was the question asked. It was not, “Who is in line should the President die?”
—Alexander Haig, Alexander Haig interview with 60 Minutes II April 23, 2001