Inside Biden’s Private Chat With HistoriansHistorians in the News
tags: Joe Biden
Hosting historians around a long table in the East Room earlier this month, President Biden took notes in a black book as they discussed some of his most admired predecessors. Then he said to Doris Kearns Goodwin: "I'm no FDR, but … "
Why it matters: He'd like to be. The March 2 session, which the White House kept under wraps, reflects Biden's determination to be one of the most consequential presidents.
- The chatty, two-hour-plus meeting is a for-the-history-books marker of the think-big, go-big mentality that pervades his West Wing.
The big picture: Biden's presidency has already been transformative, and he has many more giant plans teed up that could make Biden's New Deal the biggest change to governance in our lifetimes.
- Biden, who holds his first formal news conference today at 1:15 p.m. in the East Room, started his term with the $1.9 trillion COVID bill, with numerous measures tucked in to reduce inequality.
- Vaccines are rolling out, positioning Biden to get ahead of the pandemic. Democrats in Congress are pushing the most sweeping changes in voting rights since the 1960s.
- And he's preparing an infrastructure and green-energy plan that's bigger than the original tab for the Interstate highway system, to be followed by a domestic proposal (free community college, universal pre-K) that brings the pair of packages to $3 trillion, with possible pay-fors that would dramatically rebalance the tax system.
Behind the scenes: Attendees tell me that the afternoon session with historians was held in a White House that was ghostly quiet, because many fewer aides are working in Biden's COVID-era West Wing than are typical. To some of the guests, it felt like a snow day.
- The session was organized by Jon Meacham, the presidential biographer and informal Biden adviser who has helped with big speeches from Nashville, and serves as POTUS' historical muse.
- Besides Goodwin, participants included Michael Beschloss, author Michael Eric Dyson, Yale's Joanne Freeman, Princeton's Eddie Glaude Jr., Harvard's Annette Gordon-Reed and Walter Isaacson.
comments powered by Disqus
- The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: Looking Back, Looking Ahead: May 19
- Society of American Historians Announces 2021 Prize Winners
- Studying History Should not be Only for the Elite, Say Academics
- How Malcolm X Inspired John Coltrane to Embrace Islamic Spirituality
- Connecticut Professor Sends Controversial Anti-1619 Project Email Blast to Public School Superintendents