On Wednesday, Congress passed the first major piece of legislation of the Trump presidency — a giant, permanent tax cut for corporations, paired with modest, temporary tax cuts for middle-class Americans.
When House speaker Paul Ryan was asked Wednesday to explain the role that President Trump had played in the law’s passage, he replied, “He was very good on this … He just realized being more disciplined and letting the tax writers get this deal done was the best way to go.”
In other words: Trump’s chief contribution to the tax-cut law was letting Congress write the bill for him, with minimal interference. By all accounts, the president did not participate in the legislative deliberations, opting instead to concentrate his energies on selling the plan to the public.
As of this writing, the Republican tax bill is the least popular major law in at least four decades.
One might think then that GOP politicians would have trouble finding ways to effusively praise Trump for his superlative efforts on behalf of the Republican agenda. If so, one would be extremely wrong.
At a televised cabinet meeting Wednesday afternoon, Vice-President Mike Pence praised Trump 14 separate times in less than three minutes.
The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake compiled this list of Pence’s many, many expressions of gratitude:
1. “Thank you for seeing, through the course of this year, an agenda that truly is restoring this country.”
2. “You described it very well, Mr. President.”
3. “You’ve restored American credibility on the world stage.”
4. “You’ve signed more bills rolling back federal red tape than any president in American history.”
5. “You’ve unleashed American energy.”
6. “You’ve spurred an optimism in this country that’s setting records.”
7. “You promised the American people in that campaign a year ago that you would deliver historic tax cuts, and it would be a ‘middle-class miracle.’ And in just a short period of time, that promise will be fulfilled.”
8. “I’m deeply humbled, as your vice president, to be able to be here.”
9. “Because of your leadership, Mr. President, and because of the strong support of the leadership in the Congress of the United States, you’re delivering on that middle-class miracle.”
10. “You’ve actually got the Congress to do, as you said, what they couldn’t do with [the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska] for 40 years.”
11. “You got the Congress to do, with tax cuts for working families and American businesses, what they haven’t been able to do for 31 years.”
12. “And you got Congress to do what they couldn’t do for seven years, in repealing the individual mandate in Obamacare.”
13. “Mostly, Mr. President, I’ll end where I began and just tell you, I want to thank you, Mr. President. I want to thank you for speaking on behalf of and fighting every day for the forgotten men and women of America.”
14. “Because of your determination, because of your leadership, the forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more. And we are making America great again.”
But Pence was hardly alone in furiously sacrificing his dignity on the altar of the president’s fragile ego. Here is what 83-year-old Utah senator Orrin Hatch had to say about a president who watches television for four-to-eight hours a day; goes on a golf vacation nearly every weekend; and who has effectively turned the White House into an “adult daycare center,” according to other Republican senators:
Mr. President, I have to say that you’re living up to everything I thought you would. You’re a heck of a leader. And we’re all benefiting from it. This president hasn’t even been in office for a year and look at all the things that he’s been able to get done — by sheer will, in many ways … I came from very humble roots. And I have to say that this is one of the great privileges of my life to stand here on the White House lawn with the president of the United States who I love and appreciate so much … We’re going to make this the greatest presidency that we’ve seen, not only in generations, but maybe ever.
Tennessee congresswoman Diane Black opted to debase herself with a bit more concision, saying “Thank you, President Trump, for allowing us to have you as our President.”
Meanwhile, Paul Ryan praised Trump’s “exquisite leadership,” and thanked him for “getting us over the finish line.” Mitch McConnell declared Trump’s entire first year in office to be an “extraordinary accomplishment.”
Ben Carson thanked God for giving America a president who is “courageous” and “willing to face the winds of controversy in order to provide a better future for those who come behind us.”
Three members of the Trump cabinet chose to perform their sycophancy in writing.
During the celebratory press conference, Trump returned these compliments.
“All friends — I look at these people,” the president said, gazing out at all the sycophants gathered on the south lawn of the White House. “It’s like we’re warriors together.”