President Donald Trump smiles during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 12, 2017.
Leave it to Donald Trump to reinvent the Cabinet meeting.
The public portion of these gatherings of all of the president's top advisers are usually staid affairs. Photographers are let in to take pictures. The president makes a very brief statement. A reporter shouts a question, unanswered. The end.
Donald Trump did something very different in his Cabinet meeting Monday.
First, he reviewed the various alleged successes of his first 143 days and made this remarkable claim: "Never has there been a president....with few exceptions...who's passed more legislation, who's done more things than I have.
"Um, ok. While Trump has signed a number of executive orders and actions -- the most high profile of which, the so-called "travel ban" was, again, blocked by a court on Monday -- what he hasn't really done is pass actual legislation through Congress. The health care bill is tied up in Senate machinations. Tax reform hasn't moved an inch. Funding for the border wall hasn't happened. And so on.
(Nota bene: You can't say "never has" something happened and then say "with few exceptions." Either it's never happened or it, well, has.) But, that wasn't even close to the weirdest part of the Cabinet meeting!
Once Trump finished touting his administration's accomplishments, he turned to several of his newly-minted Cabinet secretaries like Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Each of those Cabinet secretaries lavished praise on Trump, which he accepted without comment but with a broad smile.
At first, I thought Trump was just going to have the new members of the Cabinet spend a few minutes praising him. NOPE! It soon became clear that Trump planned to have every Cabinet member speak. And when I say "speak" what I really mean is "praise Trump for his accomplishments, his foresight, his just being awesome."
You think I am exaggerating. I am not. Here's what White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said about Trump: "We thank you for the opportunity and blessing to serve your agenda."
I mean, WHAT?!?