History Shorts: Turning Over the White House

History Shorts: Turning Over the White House


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The White House is meant to reflect its occupant, and when a new president comes to town, things have to be changed very quickly.


Time magazine’s latest cover: Watch the White House turn into the Kremlin

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The picture pretty much tells the whole story with Time’s latest cover. In fact, for the first time in a decade, the publication said it opted to add no text at all.

The illustration depicts the White House morphing into the Kremlin in light of the Russia-related controversies swirling around the Trump administration.

Check out Time’s animation of the cover:

This latest jab comes as the Justice Department announced on Wednesday that former FBI Director Robert Mueller had beep tapped as special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the election.

Trump calls it “the single greatest witch hunt” in U.S. political history.

Time, like many media outlets, has done its fair share of Trump slamming. For example, it won the American Society of Magazine Editors Cover of the Year award for this Oct. 24, 2016, illustration:

Then again, Time did name Trump its person of the year for 2016, but, despite being a well-known lover of attention, he complained about not being called man of the year. He told a rally, “That could be why the magazine business isn’t so great, right?”


For Further Reading

Bradley, Curtis A. and Jack L. Goldsmith, “Congressional Authorization and the War on Terrorism.” Harvard Law Review 118 no. 7 (2005): 2047–2133.

Burgess, Susan R. “War Powers.” In The Encyclopedia of the United States Congress, edited by Donald C. Bacon, et al., vol. 4, pages 2097–2100. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Cannon’s Precedents of the House of Representatives of the United States. Volume 7, §1894. GPO: Washington, D.C., 1935.

Deschler’s Precedents of the House of Representatives of the United States. Volume 3, Chapter 13, §3–11. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1976–1977.

Elsea, Jennifer K. and Matthew C. Weed. “Declarations of War and Authorizations for the Use of Military Force: Historical Background and Legal Implications.” Congressional Research Service, 18 April 2014, RL31133.

Fisher, Louis. President and Congress: Power and Policy. The Free Press: New York, 1972.

_____. Presidential War Power. Lawrence, Kan.: University Press of Kansas, 1995.

_____. Constitutional Conflicts between Congress and the President. 4th edition. Lawrence, Kan.: University Press of Kansas, 1997.

_____. Congressional Abdication on War and Spending. College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M University Press, 2000.

_____. “Clinton’s Military Action: No Rivals in Sight.” In Rivals for Power: Presidential-Congressional Relations, edited by James A. Thurber, pages 229–254. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Fowler, Linda L. “Congressional War Powers.” In The Oxford Handbook of the American Congress, edited by Eric Schickler and Frances E. Lee, pages 812–833. Oxford University Press, 2011.

Hinds’ Precedents of the House of Representatives of the United States. Vol. IV, §4164. GPO: Washington, D.C., 1907.

Howell, William G. and Jon C. Pevenhouse. While Dangers Gather: Congressional Checks on Presidential War Powers. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.

Katzmann, Robert A. “War Powers Resolution.” In The Encyclopedia of the United States Congress, vol.. 4, edited by Donald C. Bacon, et al., pages 2100–2102. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Kriner, Douglas L. After the Rubicon: Congress, Presidents, and the Politics of Waging War. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

Torreon, Barbara Salazar. “Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2015.” Congressional Research Service, 15 January 2015. R42738.

Weed, Matthew C. “The War Powers Resolution: Concepts and Practice.” Congressional Research Service, 3 April 2015. R42699

Zeisberg, Mariah. War Powers: The Politics of Constitutional Authority. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.


The Biden administration on Monday will announce the launch of a summer food program to feed more than 30 million low-income children, the Agriculture Department told NBC News.

It is the latest push by the White House to address widespread hunger and food insecurity in the U.S., one the agency said it believes is the largest summer food program in the country's history.

"Congress, through the American Rescue Plan, expanded this program to operate during the summer, which I think was just highly responsive to what we need right now," said Stacy Dean, the deputy under secretary of agriculture for food, nutrition and consumer services. "We know that summer hunger is a problem in normal years, but obviously this year, with heightened food hardship as a result of the pandemic, we're happy to deploy the program this summer."

The plan will provide up to 34 million children about $375 each to buy food for the roughly 10 weeks they are out of school in the summer. That's when impoverished children have long struggled with hunger, as free or reduced-price lunch school programs that guarantee meals don't operate then. That's around $7 a weekday.

Kids under 6 who qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and children who receive free or reduced-price lunch qualify for the program and will be enrolled automatically. Their parents or guardians will get the cards, known as Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, or P-EBT, cards, in the mail from their state agencies. Congress has funded the program for the summers of 2021 and 2022.

Parents should begin receiving the cards in the coming weeks, but their arrivals could depend on their states. The delivery of P-EBT cards has been delayed in some states over the past year.

The card has the same limits as SNAP benefits. They can be used to buy fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, breads, cereals and some other foods. They can't be used to buy items like alcohol, tobacco, medications, hot foods or any nonfood items.

Sizi Goyah, a math teacher at Brooklyn Center High School in Minnesota, said he and his colleagues often talk about how their students take a few steps back academically over the summer. But he said he has also noticed that some of them return to their desks after those months appearing as though they have lost weight and are hungry.

"This will be huge for families here," said Goyah, who is a member of the Liberian immigrant community in Brooklyn Center, a site of national attention after police killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop this month. "Now I know that when all my kids are gone for the summer, the ones who aren't from economically strong families will have access to a meal."

Goyah said that even during the school year, food insecurity is still a problem among his students. It's one reason that, after Wright's death, he has helped with a food drive at his school, which has provided food to thousands of people in the area.

A $1,000 fundraiser for the food drive has brought in more than $120,000. The help has been needed, especially because of the hardship created by the coronavirus pandemic.

"The damage has always been there, but the pandemic has acted as the great revealer," Goyah said. "The inequities and challenges are not new. We can just see them clearly now."

Congress created P-EBT early in the pandemic to replace the meals low-income children were missing when restrictions were imposed on proximity. Expanding it into the summer is in essence a new program that hunger advocates and experts have long called for.

Typically children are limited to the Agriculture Department's Summer Food Service Program, which critics say comes with a large amount of bureaucracy that limits its effectiveness. The summer programs reach only 16 percent of the children who need food assistance when school is out of session, according to the nonprofit No Kid Hungry.

Direct payments for food, such as those done through SNAP, are much more effective, experts said. But they come with a hefty cost.

The program costs $12 billion, the Agriculture Department estimated — a stark turnaround from the Trump administration, which aimed to limit eligibility and spending on food programs.

Advocates said it was a small price to pay to ensure that children didn't go hungry, and experts said that the money would go directly back into the economy and that it could also provide some savings in the long term by bringing down patient health care costs.

"If we're serious about alleviating food insecurity in our country, it doesn't come free. We have to pay money to reduce food insecurity," said Craig Gundersen, an agricultural and consumer economics professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who has studied the U.S. food benefit programs for more than two decades. "USDA has recognized in studies that this is a problem: Kids are going hungry over the summertime."

The Agriculture Department also found in a study released in 2016 that sending only $60 a month to a child reduces "the most severe category of food insecurity among children during the summer by one-third."

A study conducted by Brookings Institution in July found that Pandemic EBT money reduced "food hardship" for children by 30 percent in the week after it was disbursed.

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, an economist and director of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University, worked on the study. She said that food insecurity isn't as rampant as it was early in the pandemic thanks to many of the relief programs passed by Congress, but that hunger remains a massive issue nationwide.


Incumbents Are a Tough Act to Follow

There is extensive and well-known literature on the advantages of incumbency in presidential elections, ranging from name recognition to the ability to affect events from the Oval Office to advantages in building a campaign operation (you can see a sampling here, here, here, and here). Those advantages may well be growing as campaigns become more expensive and voter contact and turnout technology more sophisticated. We heard a lot about the advantages of incumbency in 2012, as the Obama campaign raised and spent over a billion dollars, used its resources to build an unparalleled polling and Big Data operation, and saturated a variety of media with ads and messages designed to define Mitt Romney early. But what happens when a political party tries to repeat the results of a re-election campaign without the advantages of incumbency?

Let’s start with the 11 previous elections (since 1856) in which (1) there was no incumbent on the ballot and (2) an incumbent had been re-elected in the prior election. Those 11 elections thus provide an apples-to-apples comparison for the task the Democrats will face in trying to replicate Obama’s 2012 performance without an incumbent on the ticket.

Here’s a table of those 11 elections, showing the change in the incumbent party’s share of the two-party vote and overall vote share. At first glance, this may not seem all that alarming, given that the incumbent party won the next election six out of 11 times (all of them Republicans, and all but one of them before FDR). But those parties had all claimed between 55 to 65 percent of the two-party vote in the previous election, while Obama in 2012 won a shade under 52 percent. Look at the two-party vote shares and you will see that all 11 lost ground to the challenging party, by an average of 6.9 points.

The average Democratic ticket lost 8.9 points, reflecting the difficulties of holding together a Progressive party for more than two terms, especially (as in 1920, 1952, and 1968) when international crises commit Democratic administrations to overseas military adventures, alienating the party’s dovish wing. Ten of the 11 also lost ground in the overall popular vote, the exception being Herbert Hoover following Calvin Coolidge in 1928 (more on that election later for now, it’s sufficient to note there was a significant third-party vote in 1924 but not in 1928). The last ten in a row, all since Grant, have dropped at least 4.5 points in the two-party vote—more than enough to give Republicans, as the challenging party, the win in 2016. And Grant had the advantage of running as a de facto opposition candidate: Andrew Johnson, the president the prior three years, had campaigned for the opposing party, the Democrats, in the 1866 midterms and had been impeached and almost removed from office by the Republican-controlled Congress in spring 1868.

If you’re wondering, we have national popular-vote figures from just one incumbent re-election in the second two-party system (1828-1852), and it follows the same pattern: Andrew Jackson in 1832 won 59.2 percent of the two-party vote (54.2 percent overall), which dropped to 50.9 percent for his vice president, Martin Van Buren, in 1836 (Van Buren got 50.8 percent overall 58.1 percent if you compare only to the main Whig candidate, William Henry Harrison, but while the Whigs ran three candidates, they had only one Whig on the ballot in each state, in a bizarre strategy that has never been repeated to throw the election into the House). The data we have before that is less useful, as many fewer states chose electors by popular vote before 1824, two of the four incumbent re-elections in that era (George Washington in 1792 and James Monroe in 1820) were effectively uncontested, and the “two-party” vote is a bit of a misnomer for what happened when the Democrat-Republicans broke up in 1824, as Jackson and John Quincy Adams each claimed to represent the same party. Still, even in early America, the only election to buck the historic trend was the rebound from James Madison’s relatively close wartime re-election in 1812 to Monroe’s 1816 victory over a Federalist Party in its death throes after opposing that war and threatening secession:

Returning to the post-1856 era, what of the other five elections that followed an incumbent re-election, but that sought to extend the streak with another incumbent on the ballot? Four of those five (including FDR’s third and fourth terms, in which the same candidate was back on the ballot) won re-election, but again, four out of five lost ground in the two-party vote, two of them (FDR in 1940 and Ford in 1976) by significant margins. The one exception is Teddy Roosevelt, who had three full years in office to chart a different course than his predecessor in 1904, rebranding his party as a trust-busting champion of the little guy after five years of William McKinley’s more traditionally business-friendly conservatism. If you include these five elections, the average dropoff is still 5.7 points, and the average Democratic dropoff is 6.5.

We’ve been looking so far at percentages, but in understanding how and why these shifts in the general electorate happen, it’s important to bear in mind that the electorate is not static. New voters register, and voters who didn’t vote before show up at the polls, while others die or stay home. In the past, these shifts could be even more dramatic due to a faster-growing population, changes in voter eligibility rules and practices for women, young voters, and African-Americans, and the admission of new states. But even today, the electorate remains a moving target that defies mechanistic analysis, all the more so given the steady downward drift in the percentage of registered or eligible voters who vote. Looking at the data since 1980, consider how the eligible non-voting population stacks up to the votes actually cast for the various candidates:

Here, divided into two charts, we see the shifts in turnout in these 16 elections (contrasted with the turnout shift in the prior re-election) and the shifts in the total number of votes for the incumbent and challenging parties:

As you can see, elections with incumbents on the ballot tend to see markedly slower growth in the electorate, as a re-election campaign is mostly about voters’ opinions of the same person who was on the ballot four years earlier. In the 11 elections with no incumbent, turnout was up an (unweighted) average of 19.1 percent, compared to 4.3 percent in the preceding election. Some of that is skewed by unusual cases: the electorate effectively doubled in 1920 when women got the vote, and the shift from a wartime election to Reconstruction and emancipation had a big impact on the electorate in 1868. But we still see this dynamic at work, in part due to the closeness of the elections—the electorate grew rapidly in 2000 after contracting in 1996, and grew in 1960 (albeit, with two new states) after being stagnant in 1956. And in the bulk of these races, the total vote for the challenger party grew about twice as fast as the electorate, indicating (roughly) that the challenger party was getting about half its growth from new voters and half from converts (either converts from the incumbent party or from third parties).

Let’s just pause here and note the remarkable political achievement, which we seem to have erased from our collective memories, of George W. Bush increasing the total vote for the Republican ticket by more than 20 percent two elections in a row, from 39 million votes in 1996 (with Ross Perot still on the ballot, although weaker than in 1992), to 50 million in 2000, to 62 million in 2004. FDR in 1932 and 1936 is the only other post-1856 candidate to grow his party’s vote total by 20 percent in consecutive elections behind the same candidate (the Democrats matched this in 1960 and 1964 behind JFK and LBJ, and had also grown over 20 percent in 1928 behind Al Smith the Republicans, recovering from the party split of 1912 and with the help of women’s suffrage, did the same behind Charles Evans Hughes in 1916 and Warren Harding in 1920).

I mention Bush (and could mention that Democrats grew their total vote over 15 percent behind John Kerry in 2004 and Obama in 2008, before contracting by 5 percent in 2012) because it’s important to remember that even today, a candidate for the challenger party can change the dynamics. Al Gore actually drew 7.6 percent more votes than Bill Clinton had in 1996, but saw Clinton’s large edge over Bob Dole evaporate. In other elections, like 1968 and 1988, the challenger party was more directly growing at the expense of a declining incumbent party. While each election tells a different story, they all support the common theme that the years after an incumbent’s re-election are fertile ground for growing the opposition faster than the incumbent can keep up, as its coalition either fractures or fails to win new converts beyond its base.


Black music History: from plantations to the White house

By Pascal Archimède. At every stage of their integration on American soil, black people have created the kind of music that reflected their social integration as well as their state of mind. That was the starting point of The young African-American and the rap phenomenon, a study conducted by Pascal Archimède, trainer in english and author of the book « Music in professional language training ».

From Work songs on plantations to Rap music today, this research takes a behind-the-scenes look at black American history.
The African slave and the Work songs

In August 1619, a Dutch ship landed around twenty negroes in Jamestown, Virginia. They came from western Africa and were employed on the plantations as indentured servants: black American history had begun.

The Europeans, satisfied with that cheap workforce, enslaved them very early. By 1640, most Africans in Virginia were slaves.

Singing while working has always been part of African traditions. The work songs, sung by the slaves, were born from the transformation of African chants and litanies on American fields. They dated from the second generation of slaves and were used as the link between original African music and the one developed when the slaves got in touch with the Euro-American society.

These songs, essentially sung a capella, used to put rhythm into the slaves’ work. They were, for the most part, improvised and characterized by the call and response pattern.

The work songs reflected the situation of the Blacks as slaves. They died out after the breaking of the plantation system, but are said to have persisted in southern penitentiaries until the 1960s.
Lightning : Long John :


The evangelized Negro and the Negro spirituals

The African cultural practices and especially religious rites were forbidden on plantations. So, very early, the Blacks tried officially to be part of their masters’ religion. At first, they were rejected as they were not regarded as human beings. But, their evangelization and consequently their admission in places of worship led them to sing in a western way.
Later on, the apparition of black churches made the evolution of the occidental chants towards the Negro Spirituals possible.

Actually, Negro Spirituals were the occidental hymns revived by the slaves who imposed their own hymns, rhythms and habits.

Born in the 18th century, many Spirituals compare the situation of the slaves in the New World to the captive Jews’ one in Egypt in biblical times. The most striking example is the classic Go down Moses. The masters regarded them as songs of resignation while they actually conveyed hopeful messages only understandable by the slaves.

Golden Gate Quartet : Go Down Moses

Not only did Negro Spirituals reflect the slaves’ evangelization, but they also marked a significant milestone to emancipation, because that music, in the service of the Blacks’ cults, reflected a denial of the mainstream culture.

Then, Gospel, Christian religious songs in the footsteps of the Spirituals, would appear in the 1920s/ 1930s.

Edwin Hawkins Singers : Oh Happy Day :

The sharecropper and the Hollers

From 1861 to 1865, the United States were thrown into a civil war with the abolition of slavery at stake.
The end of this war resulted in the disappearing of plantations in one block and in their division in small farms. Thus, a huge majority of ex-slaves became sharecroppers with the duty to cultivate a plot of land in exchange for outrageous rights, that is to say 80 to 90 percent of the crop due to the owner.
Work songs would then turn into Hollers or Hollies, that is to say lonesome shouts that would be echoed by neighbouring workers and that would spread from farms to farms.
That music reflected a new step taken by black people on American soil. Even if they were still exploited, they were no longer slaves and the Hollies were there to testify it.

Cornfield Holler : Work songs and Field Hollers:

The itinerant African-American and the Blues

Blues was the creation of black American people who were rejected in isolation and despair because of slavery and later on, because of segregation. It is widely assumed, especially among blues singers, that Blues existed during slavery. However, according to some musicologists, it would have appeared in the 1880s/1890s.

It seems likely that the consolidation of this type of music was the outcome of the convergence of the work song, field holler and Negro spiritual traditions with European cultural elements such as Anglo-Scottish ballads.

Blues became professionalised thanks to the Negro theatres and was promoted through Blacks’ migration, at the beginning of the 20 th century, from the deep South to the industrialized North. This music was an opportunity to tell their life and experiences in the New World.

The spread of Blues in America and in the world was a significant step in black people’s advancement.

Robert Johnson : Sweet home :

Recognition of African-American culture thanks to Jazz

According to experts, Jazz would be born at the beginning of the 20th century. However, they admit that it derives from more ancient music genres and African oral traditions enriched by the Euro-American trend.
Once discovered, this cosmopolitan music allowed to break down barriers between Whites and Blacks.
This music managed to merge several cultures in one: Jazz culture.

Miles Davis : Freddie Freeloader :

Soul music, Funk and the awakening of Black consciousness

The African-American civil rights movement arose in the United States in the 1950s/1960s. It aimed at giving equal rights and justice to the Blacks.
Partly influenced by both Rhythm and blues and Gospel, Soul music appeared around the end of the 1950s.

It enhanced the culture and pride of the African-American community and was used as a means of expression in that quest for equality.

Aretha Franklin : I say a little prayer :

The end of the 1960s was marked by the assassination of two black leaders: Malcolm X (1965) and Martin Luther King (1968). The tension was palpable in the United States that were embroiled in a war in Vietnam and which witnessed a significant degradation of the black citizens’ social and economic situation.

Created in the 1950s, it is in this context of racial tensions that Funk music emerged. This festive music, embodied by artists such as James Brown, then appeared as a contesting cry of freedom.

James Brown : Say it loud – I’m black and I’m proud :

Rap: from the ghetto to the White House

At the end of the 1970s, inspired by Jamaican sounds systems, Block parties were arranged in New-York black ghettos with a D.J ( Disc Jockey) on the decks and a M.C ( Master of ceremonies ) in charge of entertaining: Rap music was born.
In 1979, Sugarhill Gang released Rappers’ Delight, the first worldwide rap hit which put this music genre on the map.

This music which originally told anecdotes with bragging festive and materialistic punchlines would turn into a genuine denunciation of the decaying of the ghettos under the Reagan administration in the 1980s.

The song Fight the Power by Public Enemy is a perfect illustration:

In 1988, conveyed by NWA (Niggas With Attitude) from Los Angeles, Gangsta Rap emerged. This rap style describes the gloomy everyday street life.

NWA : Straight outta Compton :

Doctor Dre, one of the founding members of NWA would later work with artists like Snoop Doggy Dog and Tupac.

Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg : Nothin’ But a G Thang :

Dr. Dre feat. Tupac Shakur: California Love:

The 1990s saw the booming of Rap within the United States but also all over the world.
For some, this music genre has become an opportunity to escape poverty and to live the easy life described by numerous rappers, while for others, it has symbolized the cultural expression of the oppressed.
For the last forty years, this contesting and uprising music has been gentrified but still remains a bearer of hope.
At the end of this research in 1999, I never thought that less than a decade later, Barack Obama, an African-American, would become President of the United States and that rappers would be received with full honours in the White House.

By Pascal Archimède.

Bibliographic references

DAVIDAS, Lionel. Chemins d’identité. LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka et le fait culturel africain-américain. Ibis Rouge Editions. Collection Identité et Culture, 1997.

JONES, LeRoi. Blues People: The Negro experience in White America and the music that developed from it. Payback Press, 1995.

ROSE, Tricia. Black Noise. Rap music and black culture in contemporary America. London: Edited by Wesleyan University Press. Published by University Press of New England, 1994.


From Slavery to the White House: The Extraordinary Life of Elizabeth Keckly

In 1868, Elizabeth (Lizzy) Hobbs Keckly (also spelled Keckley) published her memoir Behind the Scenes or Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House. 1 This revealing narrative reflected on Elizabeth’s fascinating story, detailing her life experiences from slavery to her successful career as First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln’s dressmaker. At the time of its publication, the book was controversial. It soured her close relationship with Mrs. Lincoln and destroyed the reputation of both women. Although the American public was not prepared to read the story of a free Black woman assuming control of her own life narrative at the time of publication, her recollections have been used by many historians to reconstruct the Lincoln White House and better understand one of the nation’s most fascinating and misunderstood first ladies. Her story is integral to White House history and understanding the experiences of enslaved and free Black women. Click here to learn more about the household of President Abraham Lincoln.

Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly was born in February 1818 in Dinwiddie County, Virginia. The circumstances surrounding her birth were complex. Sometime during the spring of 1817, while plantation owner Colonel Armistead Burwell’s wife, Mary, was pregnant with the couple’s tenth child, an enslaved woman named Agnes (Aggy) Hobbs became pregnant by Colonel Burwell. Although it is unknown how this pregnancy came to be and the nature of the relationship between Aggy and Burwell, it is likely the pregnancy was the result of rape or a non-consensual encounter. 2 Despite her parentage, Elizabeth Hobbs was born enslaved. Aggy’s husband, George Pleasant Hobbs, was an enslaved man that worked on a nearby plantation. Even though Elizabeth was not his child, George remained devoted to Agnes and Elizabeth and she considered him her father. Her mother gave her the last name of George’s family, a direct sign of autonomy and resistance. Elizabeth also did not know the truth behind her parentage until later in life. Her name and birth were recorded in a plantation commonplace book by Colonel Burwell’s mother Anne, “Lizzy--child of Aggy/Feby 1818.” 3

Elizabeth (Lizzy) Hobbs Keckly circa 1861.

Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University

Elizabeth grew up with other enslaved children and assisted her mother in her work as an enslaved domestic servant. Aggy was highly valued by the Burwells. She was well liked by the Burwell children and the family even permitted her to read and write. Aggy also sewed clothing for the family, a skill she taught her daughter. 4 According to Elizabeth, her first duty as an enslaved five-year-old child was to take care of Burwell's infant daughter, also named Elizabeth. Keckly was very fond of the baby, calling her “my earliest and fondest pet.” She also recalled a severe punishment administered surrounding her care of the baby:

My old mistress encouraged me in rocking the cradle, by telling me that if I would watch over the baby well, keep the flies out of its face, and not let it cry, I should be its little maid. This was a golden promise, and I required no better inducement for the faithful performance of my task. I began to rock the cradle most industriously, when lo! out pitched little pet on the floor. I instantly cried out, "Oh! the baby is on the floor" and, not knowing what to do, I seized the fire-shovel in my perplexity, and was trying to shovel up my tender charge, when my mistress called to me to let the child alone, and then ordered that I be taken out and lashed for my carelessness. The blows were not administered with a light hand, I assure you, and doubtless the severity of the lashing has made me remember the incident so well. This was the first time I was punished in this cruel way, but not the last. 5

As Elizabeth grew up, she became increasingly aware of slavery’s cruel practices. In addition to lashings for misbehavior, she remembered Mary Burwell as a “hard task master” and Colonel Burwell for an incident regarding George Hobbs. When Elizabeth was around seven years old, Burwell decided to “reward” Aggy by arranging for George Hobbs to come live with them. According to Elizabeth, her mother was very happy about the move “The old weary look faded from her face, and she worked as if her heart was in every task.” 6

Unfortunately, these happy moments were short-lived. One day, Colonel Burwell went to the Hobbs’ cabin, and presented the couple with a letter stating that George must join his enslaver in the West. George was given two hours to say goodbye to his family. Elizabeth related the details of the painful separation in her memoir:

The announcement fell upon the little circle in that rude-log cabin like a thunderbolt. I can remember the scene as if it were but yesterday--how my father cried out against the cruel separation his last kiss his wild straining of my mother to his bosom the solemn prayer to Heaven the tears and sobs--the fearful anguish of broken hearts. The last kiss, the last good-by and he, my father, was gone, gone forever. 7

The separation of the Hobbs family was not unique. Very few enslaved families survived intact and family separations through sale occurred frequently. Enslaved parents lived in persistent fear that either themselves or their children could be sold away at any moment. These separations were usually permanent, as was the case with George Hobbs. Agnes and Elizabeth never saw him again, although he continued to correspond with them. This was a rarity for enslaved people because most were barred from learning to read and write, let alone send letters. One letter read:

Dear Wife: My dear beloved wife I am more than glad to meet with opportunity writee thes few lines to you by my Mistress. I hope with gods helpe that I may be abble to rejoys with you on the earth and In heaven lets meet when will I am detemnid to nuver stope praying, not in this earth and I hope to praise god In glory there weel meet to part no more forever. So my dear wife I hope to meet you In paradase to prase god forever * * * * * I want Elizabeth to be a good girl and not to thinke that becasue I am bound so fare that gods not abble to open the way. 8

Photograph of Elizabeth Keckly taken circa 1870.

When Elizabeth was fourteen years old, she was sent to North Carolina to work for Burwell’s son Robert and his new wife. Robert was a Presbyterian minister and made very little money, meaning that Elizabeth was initially their only enslaved servant. 9 She did not recall her experiences there fondly. Elizabeth was severely whipped, often with no discernible provocation. 10 She was also repeatedly raped by local white store owner Alexander McKenzie Kirkland for four years, beginning in 1838. 11 One of these rapes resulted in a pregnancy and the birth of her only son, George, named after the man she believed to be her father, George Hobbs. Her words about his birth reveal the deep pain that came from her experience: “If my poor boy ever suffered any humiliating pangs on account of birth, he could not blame his mother, for God knows that she did not wish to give him life he must blame the edicts of that society which deemed it no crime to undermine the virtue of girls in my then position.” 12

Elizabeth’s painful time in North Carolina came to an end in 1842 when she returned to Virginia. By this time Armistead Burwell had died, and Elizabeth and her son were sent to live with her former mistress, Mary, and her daughter and son-in-law Anne and Hugh A. Garland. At this point she reunited with her mother. Due to financial hardships, Hugh Garland found himself on the brink of bankruptcy in 1845, placing all of his property as collateral against his debts including his enslaved people. Searching for a new opportunity, Garland set out for St. Louis, Missouri in 1846 and the rest of the family, including Agnes and Elizabeth, followed a year later. When the family joined Garland in St. Louis, they found that his fortunes had not improved. 13 Initially, the family planned to hire out Aggy, but Elizabeth strongly objected: “My mother, my poor aged mother, go among strangers to toil for a living! No, a thousand times no!” She confronted Garland and she offered to use her skills as a seamstress in order to make the family money. Elizabeth was soon taking dress orders from “the best ladies in St. Louis.” 14

With the advantage of the Garland’s connections to white society and Elizabeth’s ability to successfully promote her business and network, she soon became a highly successful businesswoman. She worked in St. Louis for twelve years. It was there that she first caught the attention of a midwestern white woman named Mary Lincoln. 15

In 1850, a free Black man named James Keckly, who Elizabeth had met back in Virginia, traveled West and asked for her hand in marriage. At first, she refused to consider the proposal because she did not want to be married as an enslaved woman, knowing that any future children would be enslaved. She decided to pursue her freedom, asking Mr. Garland if he would allow her to purchase herself and her son. Although he initially refused, when pressed, he handed Elizabeth a silver dollar and told her: “If you really wish to leave me, take this: it will pay the passage of yourself and boy on the ferry boat.” Elizabeth was shocked by this offer and refused. The recent Compromise of 1850 had resulted in the passage of a strengthened fugitive slave act. 16 Elizabeth knew the offer was hollow and that unless she legally obtained her freedom, she would not be truly free and subject to capture. After discussion, Garland agreed to accept $1,200 for Elizabeth and George. It is likely Garland agreed because she had faithfully served the family for many years and he knew how difficult it would be for her to raise that sum of money. 17

With the advantage of the Garland’s connections to white society and Elizabeth’s ability to successfully promote her business and network, she soon became a highly successful businesswoman.

With a price set for her family’s freedom, she agreed to marry James Keckly. Mr. Garland walked her down the aisle and the entire family celebrated. However, married life soon soured for Keckly. She discovered that her new husband was not a free man but likely a fugitive slave. Elizabeth mentioned him sparingly in her memoir and he quickly faded from her life story. She wrote: “With the simple explanation that I lived with him eight years, let charity draw around him a mantle of silence.” 18

She found it was quite hard to raise the $1,200 dollars for her freedom. Although she supported the family with her seamstress business, she was still forced to keep up with the household chores for the Garlands and found it difficult to accumulate any savings. Eventually, Mr. Garland died and Anne Garland’s brother, Armistead, arrived in St. Louis to settle his debts. Armistead agreed to honor her original agreement with Hugh Garland. She still needed the money, so she decided to travel to New York in an attempt to raise the funds by appealing to vigilance committees, groups that existed in the North providing assistance to those hoping to achieve their freedom. As she prepared to leave, Mrs. Garland insisted that Keckly obtain the support of six men who could vouch for her and make up the lost money if she failed to return. She obtained the support of five men but could not convince a sixth. Luckily for Elizabeth, her loyal patrons stepped forward. With the help of a Mrs. Le Bourgois, she raised the money for her freedom and on November 13, 1855, Anne Garland signed her emancipation papers: “Know all men that I, Anne P. Garland, of the County and City of St. Louis, State of Missouri, for and in consideration of the sum of $1200, to me in hand paid this day in cash, hereby emancipate my negro woman Lizzie, and her son George…” 19

After obtaining her freedom, Elizabeth decided to separate from her husband. She continued working in St. Louis as a seamstress for several years, raising money to pay back the loans used to purchase her freedom. During this time, her mother died. Aggy had moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi to live with other Burwell relatives. 20 After paying her debts, Elizabeth left St. Louis in the spring of 1860 and moved to Washington, D.C. where District laws made it difficult for her to establish herself. She was required to obtain a work permit and also had to find a white person to vouch that she was indeed a free woman. With a limited network in Washington, Elizabeth reached out to a client who started connecting her with many prominent southerners, including Varina Davis, wife of Mississippi Senator and future Confederate President Jefferson Davis. In her memoir, she recounts a conversation with Varina where she asked Elizabeth to accompany her back to the South, telling Elizabeth that there would be a war between the North and the South. Elizabeth agreed to think over the proposal. In the end she chose not to accompany Varina Davis to the South, preferring the North’s chances in the impending conflict: “I preferred to cast my lost [sic] among the people of the North.” 21

North view of the White House taken by photographer Matthew Brady in the 1860s.

White House Collection/White House Historical Association

As Varina Davis departed for the South, President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived in Washington. In the weeks leading up to Lincoln’s inauguration, Keckly was approached by one of her patrons, Margaret McClean. McClean wanted Elizabeth to make a dress for the following Sunday when she would be joining the Lincolns at the Willard Hotel. After Elizabeth refused the offer because of the short notice, Mrs. McClean told her: “I have often heard you say that you would like to work for the ladies of the White House. Well, I have it in my power to obtain you this privilege. I know Mrs. Lincoln well, and you shall make a dress for her provided you finish mine in time to wear at dinner on Sunday.” 22

Spurred by the potential opportunities of sewing for the White House, Elizabeth worked furiously to finish the dress on time. Mrs. McClean was very pleased with the result and recommended Elizabeth to Mrs. Lincoln. She was already familiar with Elizabeth after hearing about her years earlier from friends in St. Louis. They met before the inauguration at the Willard Hotel and Mrs. Lincoln instructed Elizabeth to go to the White House the day after the inauguration at 8:00 am. When Elizabeth arrived, she discovered three other dress makers. One-by-one the others were dismissed and finally Mrs. Lincoln greeted Elizabeth. The women discussed Keckly’s employment and then she took Mrs. Lincoln’s measurements for a new dress. 23

Elizabeth returned to the White House ahead of the event for which Mrs. Lincoln wanted the dress. When she arrived, Mrs. Lincoln was enraged, claiming that Elizabeth was late and that she could not go down to the event because she had nothing to wear. After some reasoning, Mrs. Lincoln agreed to wear the dress. President Lincoln entered the room with their sons and declared: “You look charming in that dress. Mrs. Keckley has met with great success.” 24

Pleased with her work, Mrs. Lincoln continued to employ Elizabeth. Over the course of that spring, Elizabeth sewed fifteen or sixteen dresses for the first lady. When Mary returned to Washington in the fall, she continued to employ Keckly, establishing a strong business relationship. Over time, the women became confidants and Keckly noted that Mrs. Lincoln began calling her “Lizabeth” after she “learned to drop the E.” 25 In her role as Mrs. Lincoln’s seamstress, Elizabeth had a unique view of the White House as the Civil War progressed. She interacted with the Lincolns closely, divulging details of their wartime life in her memoir. When Willie Lincoln passed away on February 20, 1862, Keckly was present. She wrote:

I assisted in washing him and dressing him, and then laid him on the bed, when Mr. Lincoln came in. I never saw a man so bowed down with grief. He came to the bed, lifted the cover from the face of his child, gazed at it long and earnestly, murmuring, "My poor boy, he was too good for this earth. God has called him home. I know that he is much better off in heaven, but then we loved him so. It is hard, hard to have him die!" 26

Willie’s death bonded the two women as they both mourned the loss of their sons. Elizabeth’s son, George, had joined Union forces and was killed in a bloody skirmish at Wilson’s Creek in Missouri six months earlier. It was his first battle. 27 In the aftermath of Willie’s death, Mrs. Lincoln collapsed, grieving the loss of her son. Her sister stayed with her for a time, but after she left, Mrs. Lincoln wanted a companion and invited Elizabeth to join her on an extended trip to New York and Boston. Mrs. Lincoln wrote to her husband of the trip, “A day of two since, I had one of my severe attacks, if it had not been for Lizzie Keckley, I do not know what I should have done.” 28 Keckly wrote about Mrs. Lincoln’s grief in her memoir, believing the grief changed Mrs. Lincoln while providing detailed accounts. These descriptions later shaped historical analyses of Mary Lincoln and her reaction to the tragic death. In one memorable passage, Keckly recalled a moment where President Lincoln led his wife to the window and pointed towards an asylum saying, “Mother, do you see that large white building on the hill yonder? Try and control your grief, or it will drive you mad, and we may have to send you there.” 29

African-American refugees at Camp Brightwood in Washington, D.C. As the Civil War progressed, Elizabeth Keckly found time to help found a relief society called the Contraband Relief Association to aid contraband camps in the summer of 1862. President Lincoln donated money to the cause.

In addition to her dress-making business, Elizabeth found the time to help found a relief society called the Contraband Relief Association to aid contraband camps in the summer of 1862. The camps were home to enslaved refugees that flooded into the nation’s capital. Their legal status was unclear. Although they were considered “contrabands of war,” it was not determined whether they were enslaved, free, or something else. 30 After establishing the Association, Keckly approached Mrs. Lincoln about donating to the organization. She wrote to her husband on November 3, 1962:

Elizabeth Keckley, who is with me and is working for the Contraband Association, at Wash[ington]--is authorized. to collect anything for them here that she can….Out of the $1000 fund deposited with you by Gen Corcoran, I have given her the privilege of investing $200 her, in bed covering….Please send check for $200. she will bring you on the bill. 31

Keckly remained a keen observer of White House life up until President Lincoln’s violent death on April 15, 1865, less than a week after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House. The morning of April 15, a messenger arrived at Keckly’s door and took her by carriage immediately to the White House to console Mrs. Lincoln. Later Elizabeth learned that when the first lady was asked who she would want to have by her side in her grief she responded, “Yes, send for Elizabeth Keckley. I want her just as soon as she can be brought here.” Mrs. Lincoln remained in the White House for several weeks before finally departing. She convinced Keckly to accompany her to Chicago for a short time before Elizabeth returned to Washington with Mrs. Lincoln’s “best wishes for my success in business.”

In 1866, Mary Lincoln, drowning in debt, reached out to Elizabeth Keckly, asking her to meet in New York in September “to assist in disposing of a portion of my wardrobe.” In New York, Elizabeth attempted to find buyers for Mrs. Lincoln’s wardrobe, but the trip was disastrous. In the end, Mrs. Lincoln gave permission to a man named William Brady to stage a public exposition to sell her wardrobe, a decision much discussed and derided in the media. After the trip, Mrs. Lincoln corresponded frequently with Elizabeth who did her best to support and publicly defend the former first lady. She wrote letters to prominent friends in the Black community, asking them to take up offerings for Mrs. Lincoln in churches. She even asked Frederick Douglass to take part in a lecture to raise money, although the lecture ultimately did not come to fruition. 32

However, Elizabeth also made decisions regarding Mary’s possessions that strained their relationship. She donated Lincoln relics without Mary’s knowledge and granted Brady permission to display the clothing in a traveling exhibition. Mary Lincoln was not pleased as she had been attempting to have the dresses returned. Their relationship frayed and faltered. Elizabeth could not keep up with Mrs. Lincoln’s letters and demands and started to back away from the relationship. 33

Photograph of Mary Todd Lincoln taken in 1861 by photographer Matthew Brady

At the same time, Elizabeth was working on her memoir. She published Behind the Scenes or Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House in 1868, detailing her life story, but also including details of the disastrous dress selling saga. Keckly believed that writing this story would redeem her own character as well as Mrs. Lincoln’s. Unfortunately, the book was not well received for several reasons. By writing down the story of her enslavement, her intimate conversations with Washington’s elite women, and her relationship with Mary Lincoln, Keckly violated social norms of privacy, race, class, and gender. Although other formerly enslaved people like Frederick Douglass wrote generally well received memoirs during the same time period, Keckly’s was more divisive. Her choice to publish correspondence between herself and Mary Lincoln was seen as an infringement on the former first lady’s privacy. Keckly attempted to address this critique in the preface to her memoir:

If I have betrayed confidence in anything I have published, it has been to place Mrs. Lincoln in a better light before the world. A breach of trust--if breach it can be called--of this kind is always excusable. My own character, as well as the character of Mrs. Lincoln, is at stake, since I have been intimately associated with that lady in the most eventful periods of her life. I have been her confidante, and if evil charges are laid at her door, they also must be laid at mine, since I have been a party to all her movements. To defend myself I must defend the lady that I have served. The world have judged Mrs. Lincoln by the facts which float upon the surface, and through her have partially judged me, and the only way to convince them that wrong was not meditated is to explain the motives that actuated us. 34

The media began attacking her directly, with some groups arguing that the book was an example of why Black women should not be educated. Her position in society as a free Black woman writing a memoir that disclosed personal information about Washington’s white elite was simply unacceptable at the time. Keckly fought back against these attacks arguing that nothing she wrote about Mrs. Lincoln compared to the consistent abuse she suffered at the hands of the newspapers in the wake of the dress selling scandal. Although the book caused quite a stir upon its publication, it soon faded to the background. The book did not sell many copies and Elizabeth believed that Mary Lincoln’s son, Robert, may have been successful in suppressing its publication. 35

Cover page of Elizabeth Keckly's controversial memoir, Behind the Scenes, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House.

Documenting the American South

Mary Lincoln read the memoir a few weeks after its release. She felt betrayed by the intimate details and conversations described and refused to mention Keckly’s name again. Elizabeth Keckly continued sewing after the book’s publication, but some of her customers disappeared. She later began training Black seamstresses and passed on her knowledge. In 1892, she accepted a position as the head of Wilberforce University’s Department of Sewing and Domestic Science Arts and moved to Ohio before returning to Washington after suffering a possible stroke. She died in 1907 at the age of eighty-nine, after living an extraordinary and remarkable life.


Trump fires National Security Adviser John Bolton in tweet

The report focuses on the top 65 positions in the Executive Office of the President, which includes jobs like national security adviser, chief of staff, communications director, press secretary and director of national intelligence.

The study found 51 of the 65 positions have turned over since Trump took office.

Sixteen of those positions have turned over twice — or more, the study found.

The most recent departee was national security adviser John Bolton, Trump's third permanent pick for the job, who was forced out earlier this month. Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was pushed out for lying about contacts with Russia and is currently awaiting sentencing for lying to the FBI about those same dealings. His successor, H.R. McMaster was ousted to make room for Bolton.

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Tenpas, who's studied White House staffing since the 1990s, attributed the high rate of the change to "the president himself. In all of my studies, I've never seen a chief executive who fires staff more frequently and more publicly than President Trump."

"It's extraordinary," she said.

The A-Team figures do not include Trump's Cabinet, where there's also been an unprecedented amount of tumult and turnover. Nine out of the 15 Cabinet positions that are in the presidential line of succession have turned over at least once, Tenpas found. That number surpasses the amount of change during entire first terms of Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and the one term of George H.W. Bush.

The elder Bush is the only president who came close to the amount of Cabinet turnover: eight, but that was over four years.

Prior to Trump, the trends in Cabinet and A-Team turnover were similar, Tenpas said. "There's a little turnover in the first year, a bigger uptick in year two, slightly bigger in year three, and then smaller in year four," with staff and Cabinet members generally staying on during a president's re-election campaigns.

The problems at the top are emblematic of a larger problem plaguing the Trump administration — a large number of vacancies in high-level positions across the federal government. Trump has not nominated people to fill 143 positions that require Senate confirmation, according to an online tracker by The Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan nonprofit that monitors presidential appointments.

The number of vacancies and employees temporarily filling other jobs leads to "upheaval and chaos" and is hampering the president's ability to get the most out of his agencies, Tenpas said.

Asked about the churn during an event at the southern border last week, Trump had a different take.

"I think we have tremendous stability," Trump told reporters in California. He added that having "acting" agency heads instead of ones confirmed by the Senate gives him "flexibility" and an opportunity to see if they're the right people for the jobs.


In 2003, terrorism was a more immediate national danger than infectious diseases. Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) had just redirected $117 million from infectious diseases to fund a new anthrax vaccine effort in response to the anthrax attacks that happened a week after 9/11.

The millions were just a small part of the $1.8 billion Fauci had poured into defense from bioterrorist attacks over the preceding two years. More than half of those funds were devoted to anthrax and smallpox alone. In 2004, Fauci launched the $5.6 billion “Project Bioshield,” the National Institutes of Health’s biggest outlay for a single research issue until then.

Some microbiology researchers at the time, however, according to the journal Nature, were concerned that Fauci’s actions would ultimately “distort priorities in infectious-disease research, sucking money away from work to understand and counter natural disease outbreaks that ultimately pose a greater threat to public health.” The 2003 Nature article cited a Stanford University microbiologist saying “that diseases such as influenza and other respiratory-tract infections routinely kill far more people than would die in a bioterrorist attack, and therefore deserve a greater share of the NIAID budget.”

The criticism turned out to be warranted. In 2007, after spending billions under the opposite premise, Fauci admitted that “at the end of the day, you’re not going to kill as many people [with an anthrax attack] as you would if you blasted off a couple of car bombs in Times Square.” His anthrax vaccine effort had failed, having been “sunk by lobbying.”

The anthrax vaccine failure followed on the heels of Fauci’s controversial leadership of the nation’s AIDS response in the 1980s and ‘90s. According to “Good Intentions,” a 1990 book by investigative author and innovation expert Bruce Nussbaum, Fauci started his career as “a lackluster scientist,” who “found his true vocation—empire building” when he took the reins at NIAID in 1984.

To ensure that AIDS would be his exclusive demesne within the federal government, Fauci “started the most important bureaucratic battle in the history of the fight against AIDS,” squeezing out more scientifically competent, but less conniving administrators. According to Nussbaum, if Fauci had not won the battle, “many people who died might have lived.”

Having won his monopoly over AIDS within the federal government, Fauci, by training an immunologist who focuses on how the body fights infections itself, favored a vaccine approach in the fight against the then-terminal illness. This understandable professional bias came at the expense of research into the anti-retroviral drugs that ultimately reduced AIDS from a death sentence to a chronic disease in remission. As Nussbaum wrote in 1990:

Tony Fauci’s managerial incompetence had exacted a staggering cost. By 1987, more than a million Americans were infected by the AlDS virus. Not a single drug treatment had come out of the government’s enormous biomedical research system. In the end, Fauci barely survived by handing over control of the government’s only AIDS drug trial program [to a pharmaceutical company].

As a result, a single drug, AZT, was the only AIDS treatment that came out of Fauci’s government research system, and only after help from the private sector. In 1988, the playwright and prominent AIDS activist Larry Kramer published an “Open Letter to Dr. Anthony Fauci” in the Village Voice, writing, in part:

You admitted that you are an incompetent idiot. Over the past four years, $374 million has been allocated for AIDS treatment research. You were in charge of spending much of that money. . . . Yet after three years you have established only a system of waste, chaos, and uselessness.

According to “Good Intentions,” in “an attempt to salvage his reputation, if not his career,” Fauci coopted Kramer, becoming the well-connected activist’s top ally within the federal government’s public health apparatus. Kramer, in turn, was Fauci’s “vector” into elitist American society, perfectly positioning the technocrat for his favorite role as “a hit-the-front-page-every-day kind of guy,” according to an unnamed health official Nussbaum quotes.

With the AIDS treatment research strategy continuing to face setbacks, Fauci focused on developing an HIV vaccine. This quest, however, offered less and less glory as the 1990s progressed. Starting in 1995, private industry began developing effective drug therapies that would drastically reduce AIDS mortality in the developed world by the turn of the millennium, making the HIV vaccine much less of a potential game-changer. While the bioterrorism threat restored Fauci’s prominence in national politics, neither the bioterrorism threat nor the anthrax vaccine ever materialized.

Things got even worse for Fauci before they became better. On Feb. 3, 2020, the journal Science reported that, after almost four decades, Fauci’s “failure-ridden search for a vaccine that can stop the AIDS virus has delivered yet another frustrating defeat.” According to the scientist heading the study in South Africa, “[t]here’s absolutely no evidence of efficacy” from the $104 million study. “Years of work went into this. It’s a huge disappointment.”

Fauci admitted to Science that all those years and millions were spent on an effort that he knew was very unlikely to succeed: “We were struggling for years and years, and so we grabbed onto the slightest positive effect, a potential correlate of immunity, and it looked interesting.” Fauci, however, had had just become unfireable, with the first U.S. COVID-19 patient diagnosed only a week prior.

“I was always saying [a respiratory illness like COVID-19] would be my worst nightmare,” he claimed in June. Yet, only a few months earlier, Fauci was telling Americans that, far from being his biggest fear, the danger from the Wuhan virus was “just minuscule,” so “there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to wear a mask.” The media buried long-standing scientific concerns that Fauci had been “sucking money away from work to understand and counter natural disease outbreaks.”

A March 2020 hagiography published in the Washington Post’s Style section noted how the dapper doctor is, once again these days, a hit-the-front-page-every-day kind of guy, who “seems to transcend time and space, appearing in all media at all times.” The newspaper quoted House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer lamenting: “It’s a shame that at the first hint of this we didn’t just say to Tony Fauci, ‘You’re in charge, you have all the power you need, tell us what needs to be done.’”

The first COVID-19 vaccine granted emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was developed by scientists at Pfizer, which took no funding from Fauci’s NIAID. “All the investment for R&D and manufacturing has been made by Pfizer at risk,” says the company.

Thirty years ago, Nussbaum correctly diagnosed the primary cause of Fauci’s many setbacks:

[T]he best scientists do not become administrators. The best scientists do not become coordinators of programs for other scientists in medical schools around the country. The best scientists stay in the labs, they don’t push paper.

Fauci is an excellent politician who survived four decades and five presidents — two Democrats, and three Republicans. Considering the mental acuity of the country’s incoming president, and the ongoing anxiety among its citizens, it appears the politically skilled but scientifically inept Fauci administration is not going anywhere soon.


Watch unattended protesters inside Capitol building, Senate chamber

Deep into the lame-duck period of his single term as president, Trump is getting in his last licks against America's republican form of government. The military won't help him. Federal agencies won't do it, either. And his mob proved as ineffective at executing a rebellion as it was capable of vandalizing the seat of the republic — "the people's house" — and delaying the pro forma certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory by a meaningless matter of hours.

The real aid he got came from Republican lawmakers, Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas, most memorably, who began the day by raising unfounded objections to the electoral vote counts of several states. Their actions demonstrated that Trump's lasting legacy will be not about great victories at the ballot box or in the legislative arena but rather about his utter domination of fellow Republicans desperate to be seen as his political heir.

From our Francis Chung, Sen. Josh Hawley greeting protesters in the east side of the Capitol before riots began. pic.twitter.com/I8DjBCDuoP

— Manuel Quinones (@ManuelQ) January 6, 2021

And his biggest impact will be on a Republican Party that is deeply divided over whether to get on with America's business or share in Trump's delusion that he was robbed in November.

Hawley and Cruz, for example, are both widely considered potential candidates for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Both supported House members' efforts to overturn the will of the electorate Wednesday, prompting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to explain his view that it was a bad idea. And, in a moment that will surely be iconic for his fans and his detractors, Hawley gave a fist pump to Trump's riot brigade Wednesday.

"They should be ashamed," Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., said on MSNBC, adding that the two lawyers — Hawley educated at Yale and Cruz at Harvard — are "traitors to the Constitution."

Did they understand the relationship between their actions and those of the mob? To many Americans, that became apparent after pro-Trump forces stormed the Capitol, chased police officers and destroyed federal property. And, of course, someone lost her life in the building.

But some people think they knew exactly what they were doing.

"They are more responsible in my mind than poor Mr. Trump, who is sort of an impulsive buffoon," retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey said Wednesday on MSNBC.

Some Republicans have taken stands against Trump's fact-free challenge of election results that already have been certified at the state level, criticizing him for misleading his voters.

"The president is abusing the trust of the American people and abusing the trust of the people who supported him," Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Wednesday on Fox News. "The mob will not prevail."

In broadcast remarks, Biden pleaded with Trump to simply give a stand-down order to his loyalists.


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