Politics & Polls #176: How Presidential Administrations Respond to Crises Featuring Chris Lu

Mar 19, 2020
B. Rose Huber
Woodrow Wilson School

World leaders continue to grapple with the appropriate crisis response for COVID-19, showcasing the need for stable leadership and a continuity of government officials.

Christopher Lu '88, former deputy secretary of labor, joins Sam Wang in this episode to discuss how U.S. presidents respond to crises and what a future administration would look like. Lu was present at the Obama administration's tabletop exercise of coordinated response to a hurricane, pandemic, and cyber intrusion  attended by the incoming Trump administration. He also makes the observation that if Biden was elected, his administration would bring in its own continuity, essentially from the Obama administration. 

Lu served as assistant to the president and White House cabinet secretary for President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013, as well as the co-chair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Lu graduated from the Woodrow Wilson School and from Harvard Law School, where he was a classmate of Obama's.

Read the Politico story Wang and Lu discuss


Wang is a professor at Princeton University, appointed in neuroscience with affiliate appointments in the Program in Law and Public Affairs and the Center for Information Technology Policy. An alumnus of Caltech, where he received a B.S. with honors in physics, he went on to earn a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Stanford University School of Medicine. He conducted postdoctoral research at Duke University Medical Center and at Bell Labs Lucent Technologies. He has also worked on science and education policy for the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources. He is noted for his application of data analytics and poll aggregation to American politics. He is leading an effort at the Princeton Gerrymandering Project to build a 50-state data resource for legislative-quality citizen redistricting. His work to define a state-level legal theory to limit partisan gerrymandering recently won Common Cause’s Gerrymandering Standard Writing Contest. His neuroscience research concerns how the brain learns from sensory experience in early life, adulthood and autism.