How 'Czar' Became A Political Term In The US

The word was reportedly first used in the U.S. in 1832.
Posted at 1:11 PM, Oct 19, 2017

We often hear about U.S. presidents appointing "czars."

But why are we using a term once reserved for Russian emperors?

Today, "czar" means a type of presidential adviser who spearheads a certain initiativePolitifact notes oftentimes "[czars] are not vetted or confirmed by the Senate."

But the term was a media creation, not a White House one.

"Obama will appoint Ron Klain to be the Ebola czar," CNN's Jake Tapper said.

The first so-called "czar" in the U.S. was reportedly Nicholas Biddle, then-president of the Bank of the United States. That was in 1832, when he and then-President Andrew Jackson were at odds.

But it wasn't Jackson who coined the term; it was reportedly the newspaper Washington Globe.

In 1930, President Herbert Hoover appointed Harry Anslinger, America's first drug czar. Anslinger is said to have taken on his role aggressively.

But even today, the term is still prevalent and has a less-than-flattering connotation. Conservative media criticized President Barack Obama for the number of czars he allegedly appointed.

The Obama White House argued many of the media-dubbed "czars" were Senate-confirmed or from the Bush administration.

But President Donald Trump has seemingly embraced the term and even tweeted it after his pick for drug czar withdrew from consideration.