Throughout American history it has been common and useful for presidential children to work with their fathers in the White House. A presidential child can be a different piece on the chess board, with different abilities from any other.
One can never be fired from the position of son or daughter which gives them the rare ability to take the risk of confronting the president on sensitive issues that would not be appropriately discussed outside of the family.
They can make decisions and assume responsibility for actions that others cannot.
One of the biggest problems in government is that at the highest levels decisions are not made. If you make a decision and it is well done, the president, rightly gets the credit. If you make a wrong decision you are punished or fired. If you make no decision at all you are often safe. It is harder to fix the blame on one who failed to decide.
Thus, the president is hurt by lack of decisions.
This is less likely at the chief of staff staff level where there is constant access to the president but it will proliferate quickly at lower levels.
A family member, however, can force a decision in a crisis and take that risk. His or hers very presence gives a White House policy whistle-blower a chance to give crucial information up the ladder without fear.
But don’t modern anti-nepotism laws(as of 1967) rule out the appointment of a son or daughter?
Modern presidents have circumvented this law by putting their son or daughter on the party payroll. Thus a Jack Ford or Chip Carter had — at various times — an office in the White House but were on the RNC and DNC payroll respectively.
Susan Ford worked as a White House photographer.
Some children of presidents, such as Webb Hayes and Anna Roosevelt, had extraordinary powers in the White House. There is a scene in my book "All the Presidents' Children" where first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt begs to be on the manifest for the historic trip to Yalta. Anna, her daughter, says no.
Many in-laws, also, served prominent roles. Ike's son John Eisenhower and his wife Barabara lived in the White House. First lady, Mamie Eisenhower was afraid of flying so the daughter-in-law became the official hostess on the road, traveling with the president on out of town and some foreign visits.
Start reading The New York Times bestseller, "All the Presidents' Children" on Kindle in less than a minute.
Here is a list of presidential children who worked in the White House with their fathers:
Abraham Van Buren
Martin Van Buren, Jr.
Robert Tyler, Jr.
Millard Powers Fillmore
Ulsses Grant, Jr.
James “Webb” Hayes
Russel Benjamin Harrison
James "Chip" Carter
Doug Wead is a presidential historian who served as a senior adviser to the Ron Paul presidential campaign. He is a New York Times best-selling author, philanthropist, and adviser to two presidents, including President George H.W. Bush, with whom he co-authored the book "Man of Integrity." Read more reports from Doug Wead — Click Here Now.
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