Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - In this two part episode of STAFFER, we hear from historian and author Tevi Troy who got his start in politics as a staffer, working in Congress and the White House. Jim and Tevi discuss his latest book, Fight House: Rivalries in the White House from Truman to Trump. Additionally, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we get to meet Jim’s better half, Katie Papa, a 17-year veteran of the House of Representatives.
Tevi Troy was born on March 28, 1967 in Queens, NY into an Orthodox Jewish family. He attended a private, co-ed, college prep Modern Orthodox Jewish day school in the Upper East Side and went on to graduate from Cornell University with a B.S. in industrial and labor relations. He later earned an M.A. and a PhD in American Civilization from the University of Texas at Austin.
When he first entered politics from 1996-1998, he began as the Senior Domestic Policy Advisor and eventually became Domestic Policy Director for the House Policy Committee, chaired by Christopher Cox, and from 1998-2000, he served as the Policy Director in the Senate office for Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO). In August 2003, Tevi served in the Bush White House as Deputy Cabinet Secretary and Liaison to the Jewish community, where he advocated for more intense Republican outreach to the American Jewish community. Less than a year later, in May 2004, Tevi left this position to work in the policy department of the 2004 Bush presidential campaign.
From March 2005-July 2007, Tevi worked in the second Bush White House as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and was the White House’s lead adviser on health care, labor, education, transportation, immigration, crime, veterans and welfare. At the White House, he specialized in crisis management; creating intra-governmental consensus; and all aspects of policy development, including strategy, outreach and coalition building.
In August 2007, he was nominated (and subsequently unanimously confirmed by the US Senate) as Deputy Secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services, where he remained until January 2009. As Deputy Secretary, 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. In this role, he also oversaw all operations, including Medicare, Medicaid, public health, medical research, food and drug safety, welfare, child and family services, disease prevention and mental health services. He also served as the regulatory policy officer for HHS, managing the development and approval of all department regulations.
Tevi is a best-selling presidential historian, making him one of only a handful of historians who has both studied the White House as a historian and worked there at the highest levels. He has authored multiple books and more than 250 articles across prominent publications including the WSJ, POLITICO, National Affairs, and the National Review. He was the president and CEO of the American Health Policy Institute, a role he was in from April 2014-February 2018 and has recently released his book, “Fight House: Rivalries in the White House from Truman to Trump,” which has been described by the Financial Times as a “drama set in the West Wing. […] [that provides] entertaining but sometimes dispiriting tales of intrigue, infighting and consequence, ranging over presidencies from Harry Truman to Donald Trump. His book offers handy guidance and insight for future presidents and senior advisers.”