I’ve attended lots of cabinet meetings, but I’ve never been asked by a president to sing his praises before the cameras. Trump's cabinet meeting today was a show of loyalty reminiscent of what dictators demand.
It started with a big lie from Trump: “I will say that never has there been a president, with few exceptions — in the case of F.D.R. he had a major Depression to handle — who’s passed more legislation, who’s done more things than what we’ve done. We’ve been about as active as you can possibly be and at a just about record-setting pace.”
In fact, Trump hasn’t signed any major legislation since taking office. Trumpcare failed its first attempt, and is stuck in Congress. He’s months away from unveiling either a major tax cut package or the sweeping infrastructure plan he promised.
Then Trump asked each cabinet member for a statement. One by one, they said their names and paid tribute to Trump, as he nodded approvingly.
Ben Carson, the housing secretary, called it “a great honor” to work for Trump. Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary, offered Trump congratulations for “the men and women you have gathered around this table.” Reince Priebus told Trump “we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing to serve your agenda.” Linda McMahon, the head of the Small Business Administration, thanked Trump “for the opportunity to serve at S.B.A.,” touting“a new optimism” for small businesses.
The cabinet’s comments were in keeping with an intense effort by the White House to boost Trump’s mood and change the subject from Comey’s damaging testimony last week -- accusing Trump of having fired him for his handling of the Russia inquiry. Tomorrow, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify before the Senate Committee on Intelligence about his involvement with Moscow and his role in firing Comey.
Do these cabinet members have no shame? Are they so ambitious they’ll say anything to keep their jobs? Don’t they know their duty is to the American people, and not to Donald Trump?