WASHINGTON ― Fresh off his only major legislative victory, President Donald Trump on Wednesday basked in the adulation showered upon him by a trifecta of Cabinet members, congressional Republican leaders and his own White House press team.
In the morning came the celebratory Cabinet meeting that doubled as an ego boost, with administration officials praising the president for what they saw as the progress of his agenda so far.
Trump spent more than 10 minutes rambling about the accomplishments in his first year in office, before turning to Vice President Mike Pence, inviting him to offer words of praise.
“Thank you for seeing, through the course of this year, an agenda that truly is restoring this country,” Pence said.
Speaking for several minutes, Pence said he was “deeply humbled, as your vice president, to be able to be here,” and thanked Trump “for speaking on behalf of and fighting every day for the forgotten men and women of America.”
Later in the afternoon, White House officials issued a press release that consisted entirely of Trump’s Cabinet members praising the president and the “tremendous progress” on his agenda.
The White House press office frequently sends reporters press releases that contain fawning editorials and positive news coverage of the president.
Finally came the White House ceremony celebrating House and Senate Republicans for passing their tax bill, where GOP leaders offered the president similarly fulsome praise.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) hailed Trump’s “exquisite presidential leadership,” and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called him “one heck of a leader.”
“Mr. President, I have to say, you’re living up to everything I thought you would,” Hatch said, before adding 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.”
Hatch also pledged to help Trump “make this the greatest presidency that we’ve seen, not only in generations, but maybe ever.”
And Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), chair of the House Budget Committee, got right to the point.
“Thank you, President Trump, for allowing us to have you as our president, and to make America great again,” she said.
Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting was reminiscent of prior occasions this year in which Trump, a self-described “loyalty freak,” asked officials to publicly praise him.
After his much criticized response to Hurricane Maria ravaging Puerto Rico earlier this year, Trump held a briefing with officials on the island. At one point, he went around the table asking them to offer their compliments.
Turning to Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s representative to Congress, Trump asked her to repeat the “nice things” she had said about him in television interviews.
At a Cabinet meeting in June, Trump famously asked administration officials, one by one, to give positive remarks.
Among other widely mocked moments, then-chief of staff Reince Priebus thanked Trump “for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ve given us to serve your agenda and the American people.”