WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Donald Trump convened his first full Cabinet meeting on Monday, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, the Senate minority leader, quickly transformed it into farce.
In his opening remarks, in a meeting held in full view of the media, Trump focused on his accomplishments.
“We have done about as much as anybody ever in a short period of time in the presidency,” he said.
Then, in a weird bit of theater that might have played well in Pyongyang, Trump’s senior staff and Cabinet, one by one, praised his leadership in effusive terms.
It started with Vice President Mike Pence: “This is the greatest privilege of my life is to serve as vice president to a president who’s keeping his word to the American people.”
So it went, but no one was as, um, salutary as chief of staff Reince Priebus, who said: “On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ve give us to serve your agenda and the American people, and we’re continuing to work very hard every day to accomplish those goals.”
Schumer couldn’t resist his own bit of theater, assembling his staff around a boardroom desk for a video parody of the Trump meeting. There were self-deprecatory references to Schumer’s well-known affection for the attentions of the media.
“How’d we do on the Sunday show yesterday?” the senator asked.
“Your tone was perfect,” a staffer replied.
Another staffer began to compliment Schumer’s hair, when a male staffer interrupted to mimic precisely Priebus’ praise for Trump.
“You know before we go any further, I just want to say thank you for the opportunity and blessing to serve your agenda.”
A silent beat, and then the room erupted into laughter.
GREAT meeting today with the best staff in the history of the world!!! pic.twitter.com/ocE1xhEAac
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 12, 2017