Donald Trump hosted his first full cabinet meeting in June, and the political world wasn’t fully prepared for how much it departed from traditional presidential cabinet meetings. As regular readers may recall, the Republican went around the room, offering each member of his cabinet an opportunity to talk about how happy they are to be on his team.
The result was downright creepy. CNBC’s John Harwood, apparently flabbergasted, said at the time, “Honestly this is like a scene from the Third World.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and his staff quickly put together a satirical meeting in the senator’s conference room, mocking the tone and the rhetoric of Trump’s gathering.
The mockery apparently didn’t bother Trump World, because yesterday’s cabinet meeting was arguably worse.
Trump asked HUD Secretary Ben Carson to say grace, and Carson proceeded to thank God for “a president and for Cabinet members who are courageous, who are willing to face the winds of controversy in order to provide a better future for those who come behind us.” Then, as the Washington Post reported, it was Vice President Mike Pence’s turn.
Over nearly three minutes, Pence offered plaudit after plaudit after plaudit, praising Trump’s vision, his words, his strategy and his results in light of the passage of tax cuts. By the end, Pence offered 14 separate commendations for Trump in less than three minutes – math that works out to one every 12.5 seconds. And each bit of praise was addressed directly to Trump, who was seated directly across the table.
After the cabinet meeting, the White House issued a written statement quoting members of Trump’s cabinet talking about how impressed they are with Trump’s record.