In shaping his “transformative” agenda, President Joe Biden is taking his cues from history.
On Thursday morning, Axios reported that Biden summoned some of America’s leading historians to a secret White House meeting earlier this month.
At one point in the two-hour gathering, Biden told renowned presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin “I’m no FDR, but…,” a phrase that Axios’ Mike Allen describes as indicative of the president’s “think-big, go-big mentality.”
Allen reports that the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a recurring topic of conversation. Lydon Johnson and Abraham Lincoln were also discussed as well as hyper-specific topics like the Jay Treaty of 1794. Allen notes, “They talked a lot about the elasticity of presidential power, and the limits of going bigger and faster than the public might anticipate or stomach.”
The meeting, held on March 2nd and intentionally undisclosed to the press, was organized by Biden confidant Jon Meacham, a historian who has also helped Biden with speech writing.
Other guests included a roster of historians that frequently appear on cable news, including Michael Beschloss, author Michael Eric Dyson, Yale’s Joanne Freeman, Princeton’s Eddie Glaude Jr., Harvard’s Annette Gordon-Reed and acclaimed biographer Walter Isaacson.
At the end of the summit – in which all participants wore masks – Biden reportedly told an aide, “I could have gone another two hours.”
At a similar point in his tenure- April 2017 – Donald Trump hosted Ted Nugent, Kid Rock and Sarah Palin at the White House.