Boy, word must have gone out among Republicans that Donald Trump really, really needed some ego fluffing. On Wednesday, led by Mike Pence, they stepped up to provide that, first in Pence’s cabinet meeting remarks and then at their celebration of passing a giant tax cut for corporations and the wealthy.
Pence appears to have been going for some kind of sucking-up record, from “You described it very well, Mr. President” to “You've spurred an optimism in this country that's setting records” to “I’m deeply humbled, as your vice president, to be able to be here.” Aaron Blake counts “14 separate commendations for Trump in less than three minutes—math that works out to one every 12.5 seconds.” And that was just the cabinet meeting!
A little later in the day, Republicans gathered to celebrate screwing over working people and the economy, and Chris Cillizza “ranked each of the 11 speakers at the tax cut victory lap event by the effusiveness of their praise for Trump.” Did Pence follow up his earlier performance by making an appearance in the top five at this event? Ha. Of course:
3. Diane Black: Black, who is running for governor in the Volunteer State in 2018, was right on brand. "Thank you to Mr. President," she said to Trump. "Thank you, President Trump, for allowing us to have you as our President and to make America great again." Only thing that could have made her "thank you" better? One of these bad boys.
2. Mike Pence
: Look, it's as hard for me to write this as it is for you to read it. Everyone knows the vice president is the unquestioned leader of the "Praise Trump Always" movement. Plus, Pence warmed up for this afternoon's festivities by doling out laurel after laurel to Trump during the Cabinet meeting
earlier Wednesday. And in his defense, Pence brought the praise. "Thank you for your boundless faith in the American people," he told Trump. "President Trump has been making history since the first day of this administration," he added. Sometimes, however, your best just isn't good enough. And Pence learned that lesson today.
1. Orrin Hatch
: WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION! The Utah Republican senator was emotional from the get-go in his remarks. But when he turned to Trump, Hatch really let fly. "You're one heck of a leader," he told Trump. But that was just the start! "This President hasn't even been in office even a year, and look at all the things that he's been able to get done," Hatch added. "By sheer will in many ways." Then came the coup de grace, in which Hatch suggested that if things kept on like this, Trump's presidency might go down as the greatest of all time. Paging Abraham Lincoln
A leader who was truly confident in his abilities and the loyalty of the people around him wouldn’t need this. Scratch that: A human being who was even moderately confident in his abilities and the loyalty of the people around him wouldn’t need this. And the fact that Republicans are providing Trump the sycophantic, unhealthy, humiliating sucking up he demands shows not just their weakness but their central part in the destruction he’s bringing to America. This is sick, but it’s also just plain evil.