Arrant brown-nosing in the Cabinet

Check out this short video (I haven’t seen more of it, but would be glad to get a link). Unless it’s misrepresented, which I doubt given the source, it reminds me of Stalin during the Thirties, any of the North Korean dictators, or Chairman Mao.

Bradd Jaffy is senior news editor and writer for NBC Nightly News

Here’s a long and more nauseating version from CNN:

UPDATE (h/t to Grania): A couple of days ago Steve Pinker tw**ted an article from Vox, “The Bullshitter-in-Chief“, which is relevant to the above.  Discussing Trump’s craziness and lies, the author argues that what Trump is really doing is testing loyalty and making his staff cohere. As the article says:

But George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen argues that this kind of thing [the big kerfuffle about crowd size at the Inauguration, and Trump asking his people to agree that it was big] can serve a strategic role.

The key issues are trust and loyalty. By asking subordinates to echo his bullshit, Trump accomplishes two goals:

  • He tests the loyalty of his subordinates. In Cowen’s words, “if you want to ascertain if someone is truly loyal to you, ask them to do something outrageous or stupid.”

  • The other is that it turns his aides into members of a distinct tribe. “By requiring subordinates to speak untruths, a leader can undercut their independent standing, including their standing with the public, with the media and with other members of the administration.”

112 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    vomit

    Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      You’re a not the only one.

      I don’t know whether to feel sorry for these people or not. Of course, they took the job in the first place. Most of us wouldn’t have, but some would even if they hated Trump considering the higher principle is serving the country.

      Doing this to people will ultimately backfire I think. Some probably believe it, but those who don’t will want to get back at him for it. I bet several went home and started their anti-Trump books to be published either as soon as they get another job, or the administration ends.

      And Trump has his arms crossed – body language that makes it obvious anyone who isn’t suitably effusive is out.

      • rickflick
        Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        Mussolini was another one who did the arm crossing thing. I just don’t want to think about it.

        • Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

          Things didn’t end well for him.

          • Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

            Shot while trying to escape and then hung upside down to be reviled by the populace.

            • jeffery
              Posted June 12, 2017 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

              Actually, he wasn’t “shot while trying to escape”; he and his mistress, Claretta Petacci, were shot (executed) the following afternoon after he and fifty other fascist leaders were found hiding in a German convoy that Italian Communist partisans attacked and halted. The partisans let the Germans proceed if they turned over all the Italians among them and Mussolini was eventually discovered slumped down in a vehicle disguised as a German Private. Of the fifty, 16 were shot on that next day as well, with a further 10 executed over the next two days (Wikipedia).

  2. busterggi
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    All the constant need for ego-stroking admiration, elaborate ridiculous compliments and loyalty pledges…maybe Trump realy is god!

  3. Nicholas K.
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    This is something I would expect to see from old videos of Saddam Hussein or Muammar Qadhafi. Simply pathological.

    • Pliny the in Between
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Based on photos I’ve seen, they all had the same decorator

      • jeffery
        Posted June 12, 2017 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

        Like I said in a comment on the Yahoo article on this appalling, pathetic display, “This man is rapidly crossing the line from “simply insane” to, “dangerously insane”….

        • jeffery
          Posted June 12, 2017 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

          The worst part is that, even though someone’s insane, it doesn’t mean that they can’t continue to be very, very clever….

    • Posted June 13, 2017 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      That’s exactly what I was thinking as I watched the comedy. WTF? I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears.

      • Filippo
        Posted June 13, 2017 at 6:33 am | Permalink

        Perhaps it will occur to some enterprising soul to juxtapose video of Trump and Hussein online.

  4. Christine
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Trump’s narcissist ego is like a bottomless pit that must be fed constantly. It IS nauseating, no need to apologize, GB James. I agree. I don’t understand why this farce is continuing. I can only hope the investigation continues and turns up his dirty financial dealings. Follow the money! Meanwhile, his anti-science agenda and disdain for the separation of church and state continues and damages our nation more every day he remains in power.

    • Charles McCullough
      Posted June 13, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Stunts like this illustrate trump’s motives for picking so many unqualified, inexperienced, and radical right people as Cabinet members. That entire room was certainly a cesspool of “alternative fact” regurgitators. The accelerating pace in which trump and his ilk are pushing human progress backwards is my definition of “dark energy.”

  5. sensorrhea
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    He also exhibited the inevitable delusional features of extreme narcissism by claiming, with nobody to argue, that he has done more than any president in his first 6 months except for FDR.

    All hail the super-genius!

    • busterggi
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Wile E. Coyote would be a better POTUS.

      • Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        Let’s come up with some more new names for POTUS:

        BLOATUS
        DOLTUS
        OLDGOATUS

        Cheeto-in-Chief
        Dough Boy-in-Chief
        Liar-in-Chief
        Criminal-in-chief

        Smallmouth Ass (His mouth does look somewhat like an anus, eh?!)

        Small/Quickhand Don

        He’s a psychopathic pervert. We’ve shot ourselves in the foot, or derriere, or some other body part, with the election of this whatever-he-is. I can only hope he’s one of a kind (but, unfortunately he procreated and some his kids seem to have learned a lot of bad stuff from him.)

        • Walt Jones
          Posted June 12, 2017 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

          My preferred acronym stands for So-Called Ruler Of The United States.

          • Posted June 12, 2017 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

            minority president

            • jeffery
              Posted June 12, 2017 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

              I go with, “POSPOTUS”.

        • Diane G.
          Posted June 13, 2017 at 2:45 am | Permalink

          One sobriquet I just read recently: Hair Fuhrer.

          • darrelle
            Posted June 13, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

            That made me LOL.

      • Posted June 13, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        At least Mr. Coyote has a decent respect for intellectual solving of problems, albeit with inept execution.

        • Merilee
          Posted June 13, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

          If he just stopped relying on Acme🐾🐾⚡️(Can’t find rocket or anvil emojis…)

    • Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      I’m, like, a really smart guy … Really, really smart.

      • Paul Schoeckel
        Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        I am so smart. D’oh.

        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

          I have the best words. I have a good brain.
          All from Trump.

  6. Randy schenck
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I saw some internet news from a David Badash dated 12 June that seems to be about this same Cabinet Meeting but covering very short video of other parts. The amazing thing to me stated there is that this is the first cabinet meeting held by trump, after 143 days in office. That seems almost unreal. So we only get together every three months or so and kiss butt.

    • Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      He hadn’t filled all the seats yet, had he?

      • Randy schenck
        Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think so, last I heard he only had 7 of 15 filled.

  7. rickflick
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    It sounds ominous. I hope we are not replaying this to school children in 50 years as another example of how nations gradually descend into a hellhole.

    • Harrison
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      If it became that sort of hellhole why would anyone be allowed to play it at all?

      • rickflick
        Posted June 12, 2017 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        Enlightenment.

  8. Frank Bath
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    The kiss arse cabinet.

  9. Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    This was just reported on NPR. “Mostly compliments for President Trump”

  10. Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Here it is:

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 13, 2017 at 2:49 am | Permalink

      Oh, jeez, I hope no one shows that to Trump!

      • bric
        Posted June 13, 2017 at 3:34 am | Permalink

        P45 already has a Salute

  11. Randy schenck
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I have no idea how many lawyers Trump has working for him now, but very soon he will need a large truck load. I guess for many lawyers, this guy is what they get up in the morning for.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      I also just saw on CNN, Chuck Shumer’s office doing a mock repeat of the Trump meeting so it is already off to the races.

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Actually Trump couldn’t find any D.C. law firms with the needed expertise. Not that there aren’t several that could have done the job. It’s just that they didn’t want to touch him with a ten foot deposition. Mumble, mumble, other clients, potential conflicts of interest. They don’t need that kind of publicity.

      What he did resort to, is the guy who did his civil law suits in the past. You know, threatening letters to his sexual assault victims and SLAPP suits for anyone dissing The Trump, that sort of thing. He has already gone before the cameras to make matters worse for his client.

      • rickflick
        Posted June 12, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        That about D.C. lawyers sounds plausible, but how do you know?

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          @rickflick It stems from a 6th June report on Yahoo! News [link below] by Michael Isikoff who quotes ‘sources’ – the story has been picked up by other news agencies since, with extra input, but still just sources:-
          https://www.yahoo.com/news/four-top-law-firms-turned-requests-represent-trump-122423972.html

          I’m inclined to believe it. According to the report the Trump team are still looking for D.C. legal strategy advisors & I’m sure they’ll find a firm who’ll work anonymously for money up front! OTOH I don’t think it’ll be easy to find a mug who’ll stand up for the Trumpster openly – there’s no upside to doing so with a client who will not follow simple instructions e.g. STFU & we’ll do the talking

          • rickflick
            Posted June 12, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

            Thanks. I’m inclined to believe it too.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 12, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        The book on Donald Trump, client: won’t pay, won’t follow legal advice.

        Who needs that nonsense?

  12. Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    puke gag puke gag gag choke gasp

  13. Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Discussing Trump’s craziness and lies, the author argues that what Trump is really doing is testing loyalty and making his staff cohere

    I’ve made a similar argument about religions and campus protestors. Getting somebody to concede a point that might be true doesn’t tell you anything about their commitment to the cause. Getting them to agree with something ludicrous means they are prepared to suspend their critical faculties entirely. It’s not surprising that religions are full of resurrections, flying horses and whatnot.

    • Patrick Q
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      There… Are… Four… Lights!

  14. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Trump’s Republican enablers are like the battered spouse of an abusive drunk. (“He’s soo nice, except when he gets angry and starts tweeting! Look a the shiny new Supreme Court justice he gave us for our anniversary, just like he promised!”)

    And that extends from his cabinet to White House staff to Republican congresscritters with their ludicrous defense that “he’s new at this.”

    • Harrison
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      Unlike actual battered spouses I have no sympathy for the Republicans in this. If there was ever any misconception that some of them were merely principled believers in dubious ideas, support for Trump should throw such doubts out the window. There is no conscientious core to Republican ideology. It’s 100% about giving the wealthy, themselves included, giant tax breaks, and everything else is so much window dressing.

  15. Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    The beginning of the video is missing when Trump clubs Albert Anselmi and John Scalise to death with a baseball bat.

    (I may be confusing this with an earlier incident)

    • Kevin
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Probably the one on Fifth Avenue.

      A baseball bat to the heads of the present cabinet members? Trump has so incapacitated my moral compass I am not sure I would be horrified or amused by such an event. I wonder if someone could actually mortally wound themselves with a bat…

      • Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        I wonder if someone could actually mortally wound themselves with a bat…

        Given the way Theresa May managed her election campaign I’d say yes.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Aw, that calls for the clip of Bobby De Niro in Brian DePalma’s Untouchables.

  16. W.Benson
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I have read that Stalin rooted out disloyalty in his ruling circle by throwing parties where tongues were loosened with vodka.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      … and then with daggers.

  17. JohnnieCanuck
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    What I don’t see mentioned in the quotes from Steven Pinker and Tyler Cowan is how all this in-group vs out-group strategy has long been employed by religious cults.

    If you can say with a straight face that you believe all the improbable claims made by a cult and adopt all their defining symbols, then you get to claim the benefits of membership.

    The original inventors of the Abrahamic religions seem to have taken this the furthest, but Christians and Muslims have their own foolish but mandatory claims to other everyone else by othering themselves.

    Who really believes that a monkey-god is walking around with a hole in his chest in which reside two other gods, happily ensconced in his beating heart?

    • Posted June 13, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Well, we already know that some political ideologies are effectively also religions. For example, Juche.

  18. bric
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    AS has been pointed out on Twitter, this is pretty much how King Lear starts . . . King Leer sponsored by Delta?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      I’ve compared Ivanka, Don Jr., and Eric to Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia before.

      • Merilee
        Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        But which one’s Cordelia?? Cordelia was generous.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

          We won’t know until it’s finita la commedia in Trump’s case (to mix my stage terminology badly 🙂 ).

          • Merilee
            Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

            🐸

        • bric
          Posted June 13, 2017 at 3:39 am | Permalink

          The main problem with casting would be a surfeit of Fools

  19. DrDroid
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    And then there’s this bit of hilarity:

    http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/06/12/schumer-staff-mocks-trump-cabinet-meeting-nr.cnn

  20. Merilee
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Barf!

    Love the Schumer take-off/down!

  21. Craw
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    This kind of stuff is endemic in business “team building”.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Really, You wanna pass it off as nothing more than that? Can you cite an example? I certainly don’t recall this happening with anyone else who’s held the presidency (or any other high office in a democratic republic) in my lifetime.

      Obama certainly never encouraged this kind of sycophancy. Hell, if one of the big dudes he played basketball with backed off when he drove to the hoop, the guy wouldn’t get invited to play again.

      • Craw
        Posted June 12, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        Where do you get “nothing more than that”? And I cite an example in a comment below.

        I am AGREEING with the point Cowen made, this is technique that is much used these days.

        • Randy schenck
          Posted June 12, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

          I have no idea what kind of business environment you have experienced but this is not anything close to normal. If you worked in a kiss the bosses ass business such as this Trump meet we are seeing here, you are likely working for jerks. You are also wasting lots of money. No manager worth beans hires a bunch of yes men and women to work for him. Just save the money, make all decisions yourself and spend a lot of time looking in the mirror.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 12, 2017 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          I had understood you to be implying that it was SoP in corporate America, Craw.

          It strikes me as more akin to the Politburo praising Stalin after the Great Patriotic War.

          “Cult of personality,” I believe, would be the terminology juste.

      • Posted June 13, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

        Not in my (35 years) of experience in business. Nothing like this level of sycophancy.

    • GBJames
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      I call BS on that one, Craw.

      I’ve spent my adult life in the business world, now drawing near it’s close, and have never seen anything like this kind of sycophantic bullshit qualifying as “team building”.

      This is the kind of team building that Kim Jong-un would expect.

      • Craw
        Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        At the Fortune 10 company where I work we just had a training session where everyone had to come up with such “feedback”. It’s never honest, it’s always pap.

        • GBJames
          Posted June 12, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          Being unable to distinguish this from “pap” strikes me as extreme myopia. This isn’t “pap”, it is sycophantic groveling. No team was ever built that way.

      • Posted June 13, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        +1, I should have read your comment first … 🙂

    • Filippo
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      I’m reminded of Wal-Mart employee “pep rallies.”

  22. Posted June 12, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    No dissenters being assassinated so far, or thrown in jail. Still safe to ridicule it — well done Chuck Schumer!

    But we can see how it starts. Both pathetic and horrifying.

    I suppose the US has dodged a bullet here in terms of fascism, thanks to Trump’s extraordinary stupidity and ineptitude, but it will a long, dangerous and disgusting 8 years.

    • Posted June 12, 2017 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      How long before he declares himself a god and names his inducts his golf cart into the senate?

      • busterggi
        Posted June 12, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        He would never do that, it would require a sense of humor and a knowledge of history.

  23. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I see that Team Trump is right on schedule with its vacuous attack on special counsel Robert Mueller.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Yes, and that idiot Newt had just a few days earlier praised Mueller and said what a great guy he was, couldn’t get a better man. Some of the Trumpees were even saying Mueller should be fired. Crazy or just stupid that is not going to happen.

      I think Mueller was a Marine who served in Vietnam and that was just for starters.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, Marine Recon, led a combat platoon for a while. Came outta Vietnam in ’69 with a bronze star, purple heart, and two commendation medals.

        Also, like James Comey, Mueller is a life-long registered Republican, although neither of them has ever been considered partisan.

        The Donald’s got yooge problems; Mueller’s assembling a killer legal team.

        • Posted June 13, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

          I am fervently hoping Mueller is kept in place and keeps at it until the end.

          If der Drumpfenführer fires Mueller, then we a re definitely in “Saturday Night Massacre” territory.

          But, as someone said just above, der Drumpfenführer probably doesn’t have the sense of history to even know what that phrase means.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted June 13, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

            If Trump cans Mueller, I thinks it’s fair to conclude that whatever he’s trying to cover up is even worse than the Defcon heat he’ll get for doing it.

            I don’t think Trump’ll pull that trigger yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen once Mueller starts digging around in Trump’s dirty Russian laundry.

  24. BJ
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    I would have no problem believing it. We’ve already heard from sources inside the cabinet that, if you want to get his attention in any way, you have to praise him constantly first. As I’ve said before, this is all about his ego. He doesn’t care about the responsibilities or role of the Presidency; he just wants to get off on it.

  25. Curt Nelson
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    It’s interesting the way such leaders who project power and confidence inspire such deference despite actually being foolish and corrupt.

    • Posted June 13, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      They are all lying. It’s all just a show. Same as der Drumpfenführer.

  26. Eduardo
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I CANNOT believe this. It has to be a joke or a hoax. It turns my stomach to see all these men and women offering their p***y for Trump to grab it. This cannot happen in America.

  27. James Walker
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Members of the Cabinet should take the splunge option: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3v0I4OQi7CQ

  28. Craw
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Donald J Trump is the kindest, warmest, bravest, most wonderful human being I have known in my life.

    • Kevin Voges
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      I have some waterfront land I’d like to sell you. Building on piles will take care of the tidal problems ….

    • Posted June 12, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, whatever cabinet position you’re applying for is already taken.

    • James Walker
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Not Manchuria, maybe Kamchatka? 😉

      • Craw
        Posted June 13, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        Nice to see that at least one person can recognize an allusion …

  29. Mark R.
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Luckily those members were sitting, lest we see their tumescent members.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      The women, maybe; the men seem more likely to be suffering membrum flaccidos.

  30. Posted June 12, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    They are the SS – the sixteen sycophants.

  31. Mizrob A.
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think he (Trump) buys toilet paper

  32. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Bill Clinton got the same treatment in the White House … but at least he had the propriety to get his one-on-one in a closet off the Oval Office.

  33. Mark Grieveson
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    Only an extreme narcissist would allow this cringe worthy film to see the light of day. You can almost sense the embarrassment of having to contribute , to not use exactly the same words & to smile in a non-Duchenne manner !!

    • Filippo
      Posted June 13, 2017 at 4:58 am | Permalink

      Shall one anticipate hearing Sean Spicer or his assigns utter words to-the-effect that these were all genuine, unsolicited warm burblings? Or that Trump, as a private corporate tyrant, has been so accustomed to such obsequies(?) that he is naively and innocently non-culpable?

  34. Posted June 13, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    TL;DR all comments but a search saw nothing about McMaster so I don’t think anyone mentioned this: The general, rather than licking Trump’s rump instead said how proud he was to be representing US troops from all over the world.

    • Merilee
      Posted June 13, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      I think Mattis, too.


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