With the appearance of the highly publicized book by Michael Wolff, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” there’s increased speculation on whether our president is familiar with the issues.
That calls up for me a vivid recollection of another president’s familiarity with the issues.
It was early January of 1954. Dwight Eisenhower had been president almost a year, and his staff was engaged in the traditional creation of messages to the Congress. Those messages represented legislation in a variety of areas of government that the president hoped the Congress would pass.
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Because I was privileged to work in the Eisenhower White House, I attended many of the meetings in which those messages were fashioned. One involved the president’s proposed legislation in the area of agriculture.
I knew nothing about agriculture and had contributed not a comma to that effort, but I had read the message and, with the others, was eager to learn whether the president liked how the staff had presented his ideas.
We knew that he was at work in the White House living quarters, and because the deadline for sending the message was the very next day, we knew that he would join the group in the Cabinet Room that evening. And so we waited.
Shortly after 10 o’clock, I left the Cabinet Room for a few minutes, and when I returned, the president was in the room. He was dressed casually and was sitting comfortably at one end of the long Cabinet table.
“You fellows have done a good job,” he said, and he passed the document down the row of staff members to chief writer Bryce Harlow. Then, with the document no longer in his hands, he said:
“Look, please, at the top of page three, where you’re talking about soy beans. That’s a subject of great importance to Congressman Jones, and I think we were a bit too harsh. So I scribbled some softer language. See if you agree.”
And with the document now in Harlow’s hands, the president continued, fluently drawing attention to other pages, other crops, other members of Congress and to his own suggested changes.
It was a masterful description of the role played by agriculture in the nation’s financial and political life. It was also a dramatic demonstration of that president’s unique capacity for absorbing and making use of large amounts of new information.
But perhaps the most impressive part of the President’s performance was his ability to recall the number of each page — and the position on that page — of each item that he was bringing to his staff’s attention.
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Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News