Presidential leadership in the first year

December 1, 2016 Thomas van der Voort

Presidential Leadership in the First Year
Monday, December 12, 2016, 3:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
The Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium
1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC


The first year in office presents a unique window of opportunity for a new president to advance his agenda and pass signature legislation. President Obama’s first year for instance saw the passage of the economic stimulus, Dodd-Frank, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, along with new ethics guidelines designed to curtail the influence of lobbyists. The Bush 43 Administration passed signature tax cuts and No Child Left Behind.

However, the first 365 days in office also pose distinct challenges: the president will be tested for the first time on the world stage and in a polarized Congress. How will the new Trump administration traverse its critical first year, and what insights can history provide for the future?

On December 12, Governance Studies at Brookings and the First Year Project will convene a special half-day conference to consider the many challenges facing the new administration and make recommendations for the next president in his first year. Scholars and practitioners will examine the lessons of history and offer contemporary analysis in order to inspire and guide the Trump administration’s early decisions.

Participants include

  • Chris Lu, deputy secretary, U.S. Department of Labor; former executive director, Obama-Biden transition
  • Josh Bolten, White House chief of staff, President George W. Bush
  • Jen Psaki, White House communications director, President Barack Obama
  • Dan Meyer, former director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, President George W. Bush
  • Eric Edelman, former undersecretary for defense policy, President George W. Bush; former ambassador to Turkey and Finland
  • Elaine Kamarck, founding director and senior fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings Institution;
  • Philip Zelikow, White Burkett Miller Professor of History, University of Virginia