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Tevi Troy, author of What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House tells us fun and informative little-known anecdotes about everyone from George Washington to Donald Trump, revealing how each one has woven popular culture into different aspects of their leadership.

In the 21st century presidents can’t stay out of the spotlight. Barack Obama released his NCAA tournament brackets every year on ESPN, was a regular guest on Jimmy Fallon and the rest of the late night circuit, and was the first president to use Twitter. Donald Trump has gone even further with social media, using Twitter as a permanent means to bypass traditional media channels.


But they are not the first consumers, or producers, of popular culture in the White House. Throughout America’s history, occupants of the White House have interacted with and been shaped by popular culture.

In this episode we learn

  • The literary works that shaped the political philosophy of Thomas Jefferson.
  • Why Abraham Lincoln’s love of theater prompted him to ignore advice from advisors the night of his assassination.
  • That voracious reader Teddy Roosevelt viewed books as job training and didn’t hesitate to read at parties.
  • That Dwight D. Eisenhower loved Westerns so much that his staff struggled to keep him in supply.
  • How Saturday Night Live irrevocably branded Gerald Ford as a klutz, contributing to his 1976 defeat.
  • How Ronald Reagan identified the unifying role of film and often used movie quotes to rouse support.
  • Why Barack Obama used celebrity endorsements to sell his policies to the American people.

Tevi is not only a historian of U.S. politics. He was also a high-level player. In 2007 he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He was the chief operating officer of the largest civilian department in the federal government, with a budget of $716 billion and over 67,000 employees.

Basically, he controlled Medicaid and Medicaid.

In light of his experience Tevi has all sorts of fascinating stories about how the George W. Bush White House used history to dictate policy—in one instance all of Bush’s advisors were requried to read a book on the 1918 Spanish influenza epidemic to develop public policy against disease outbreaks.

In that position, he oversaw all operations, including Medicare, Medicaid, public health


Tevi Troy’s Website

What Jefferson Read, Obama Watched, and Ike Tweeted

Tevi on Twitter



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"Tevi Troy on Pop Culture in the White House" History on the Net
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July 12, 2024 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/tevi-troy-on-what-jefferson-read-ike-watched-and-trump-tweeted>
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