Trump sat silently as each member of his Cabinet lavished praise on him
Those ranked required Senate confirmation, plus Vice President Mike Pence
President Donald Trump held a super weird Cabinet meeting Monday afternoon. In it, he sat silently as each member of his Cabinet lavished praise on him. Seriously.
I wrote about the whole thing here. But – with the help of super intern Liz Stark, who graduated college Saturday and was at work Monday morning(!) – I went through the transcript and ranked the Cabinet members by just how obsequious their encomiums to Trump actually were.
Before we go any further, an important note: The people on this list are those who required Senate confirmation plus Vice President Mike Pence. So, no White House chief of staff Reince Priebus who deserves honorable mention for this gem: “We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ve given us to serve your agenda and the American people.”
To the rankings!
23. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
“I actually arrived back this morning at 1 o’clock from Italy and the G-7 summit focused on the environment. And our message there was the United States is going to be focused on growth and protecting the environment. And it was received well.”
I admire Pruitt slickly getting the whole I-work-super-hard-and-super-late thing into a short statement. But, this was WAY short on direct praise for the President. Do better, Pruitt!
22. Defense Secretary James Mattis
“Mr. President, it’s an honor to represent the men and women of the Department of Defense. And we are grateful for the sacrifices our people are making in order to strengthen our military so our diplomats always negotiate from a position of strength. Thank you.”
A nice sentiment. But nary a word of direct praise for Trump’s commitment to the military.
21. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly
“In the five months that I’ve been at the job, we have gone a long way to facilitate the – improve the legal movement of people and commerce across our borders, yet at the same time, we have gone a long way to safeguarding our borders, particularly the southern border, working with all of our partners to the south.”
A clear appeal to Trump’s ego by citing the gains made across the southern border. But, heavier on policy than praise, to be honest.
20. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer
“First of all, I apologize for being late to work. I got bogged down in that swamp that you’ve been trying to drain.”
I am going to use this excuse the next time I miss a TV hit. (Related: I am on TV and, therefore, a big deal. Many leather-bound books.)
19. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
“Thank you for the honor to serve the country. It’s a great privilege you’ve given me.”
“Great privilege?” Good. But not great.
18. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon
“I’ve been traveling around the country, and what I’m continuing to hear is this renewed optimism from small businesses.”
This started out with promise. A better ending to this sentence would have been “and people are crediting it all to you.”
17. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats
“It’s a joy to be working with the people that I have inherited, and we are going to provide – continue to provide you with the very best intelligence we can, so you can formulate policies to deal with these issues.”
“Joy” got my hopes up. But I wound up, ultimately, disappointed.
16. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke
“Mr. President, as your SEAL on your staff … it’s an honor to be your steward of our public lands and the generator of energy dominance (ph). I am deeply honored.”
As a general life rule, I am not in the business of messing with SEALs.
15. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos
“It’s a privilege to serve, to serve the students of this country, and to work to ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to get a great education, and therefore a great future.”
You had me at “privilege to serve.”
14. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross
“Mr. President, thank you for the opportunity to help fix the trade deficit and other things. The other countries are gradually getting used to the (inaudible) the free rides are somewhat over with. They’re not happy with this, but I think (inaudible) growing recognition that (inaudible) have a chance to help you live up to your campaign promises.”