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Trump's first Cabinet meeting was a North Korea-style lovefest

Expressing thanks, the officials eagerly attempted to endear themselves to their dear leader.
President Trump Cabinet Meeting
Photo: Getty Images

Yesterday, President Trump held the first meeting of his full Cabinet. That would be newsworthy in itself as the White House struggles to staff nearly every area of government. But the meeting went next-level when the 23 cabinet secretaries spoke in turn around the table, praising Trump one by one.

The gathering opened with signs that it was going to be something special: Flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump declared, “Never has there been a president, with few exceptions — the case of FDR, he had a major Depression to handle — who has passed more legislation, who has done more things than what we’ve done.” (In case it's not clear, the president's statement is demonstrably untrue.)

Then as news cameras rolled, the lovefest began. Privilege as bestowed by Trump was a prominent theme, along with the gratitude for it.

"Thank you for the honor to serve the country. It's a great privilege you've given me," said Tillerson.

"It is just the greatest privilege of my life to serve as vice president to the president who's keeping his word to the American people and assembling a team that's bringing real change, real prosperity, real strength back to our nation," said Pence.

"I can't thank you enough for the privileges you've given me and the leadership that you've shown. It seems like there's an international flair to the messages that are being delivered," said Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

"It was a great honor traveling with you around the country for the last year and an even greater honor to be here serving on your Cabinet," said Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

And so on. Then, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus asked everyone to hold his beer, thanking Trump for “giving us the opportunity and the blessing to serve your agenda.”

The display struck many as disturbing. "This is a more common occurrence in nondemocratic regimes, which are trying to portray themselves as being popular," Brendan Nyhan, a professor of government at Dartmouth College told NPR's "Morning Edition" on Tuesday.

 

Even some Republicans were put off by it.

 

Response from other quarters was often eye-opening. The comparison to authoritarian regimes was frequent.

 

 

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer got in a multimedia jab via a quickly produced satirical video, indicating that congressional business has, by dictionary definition, become a parody of a travesty.

 

 
 
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