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Piling On Praise For President Trump07:54Download

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At President Trump's first full cabinet meeting yesterday, an invitation to lavish praise on the Commander-in-Chief.

President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting, Monday, June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting, Monday, June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Guest

Jon Meacham, presidential historian and Pulitzer-prize winning author. (@jmeacham)

From Tom's Reading List

New York Times: Trump’s Cabinet, With a Prod, Extols the ‘Blessing’ of Serving Him — "So it went on Monday in the Cabinet Room of the White House, as Mr. Trump transformed a routine meeting of senior members of his government into a mood-boosting, ego-stroking display of support for himself and his agenda. While the president never explicitly asked to be praised, Mr. Pence set the worshipful tone, and Mr. Trump made it clear he liked what he heard."

Vanity Fair: Trump Appointees Take Turns Praising Him In Bizarre Cabinet Meeting — "Donald Trump’s disapproval rating may be at an all-time high, but inside the White House, the president could not be more popular. On Monday, Trump convened his first full Cabinet meeting since taking office, gathering the heads of every major government agency for a press gaggle around the elliptical mahogany table that occupies a prominent place in the West Wing. Traditionally, the media is present only at the beginning of such meetings, during which the president makes a brief statement and a few photos are snapped before a review of the administration’s progress continues behind closed doors. Trump tried something a little different."

Segment Highlights

Jon Meacham: "There's total precedent for, 'You're the greatest, Mr. President.' Where we enter, as ever, new territory under the 45th president, is with the cameras rolling in the Cabinet Room. You know the Oval Office, the Cabinet Room, the White House, Air Force One, has this remarkable capacity to render even the most staid and prideful and serious-minded people into, I'm going to use the technical historical term here, into Jell-O. Throughout history, people around the president end up being impressed by the aura of power, the personality of the person.

Jon Meacham: "You know it's yet another example, and a vivid one, of this not-so-subtle shift in Trump world, where it is entirely the cult of personality. And the other interesting thing here is, all this followed Trump saying — laughably so, ludicrously so — that this was the most active administration with possibly the exception of Franklin Roosevelt, in history

"And let's just remember this is not a reality show. This is our reality."

Jon Meacham: "I mean there is almost no legislation passed. They repeal Obamacare, we don't know what's in the bill in the Senate. He's signed a number of executive orders, but many of them are just sort of exhortations. Several serious-minded executive orders he signed have been stopped by the courts, in a good sign the rule of law is prevailing. But it's a case of — Trump has always suffered from what I might call 'superlative-itis.' And so he has to be the most this, the best of that, and he has to hear constant praise of himself.

Jon Meacham: "I haven't spent a great deal of time watching 'The Apprentice,' but this does remind one of the ethos of that, of the boardroom table, of people currying favor with Trump. And let's just remember this is not a reality show. This is our reality.

This segment aired on June 13, 2017.

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