Congressional Republicans gathered at the White House Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the passage of a major tax cut bill with President Trump. It was a love-fest.
Speaker after speaker lavished praise on Trump as a singular man, the only president — hell, the only person — in history who could have gotten these tax cuts across the finish line.
Even for this President, who has made praising himself — and allowing himself to be praised by others — into an art form, it was a command performance by all involved.
Below I’ve ranked each of the 11 speakers at the tax cut victory lap event by the effusiveness of their praise for Trump. The No. 1 ranked person delivered the most ecstatic encomium to our 45th president. Enjoy! And have I mentioned how great you are?
11. Tim Scott: Praising Ivanka Trump and Marco Rubio for all they did to make this bill become law? COME ON, MAN. It’s like you’re not even trying.
10. Lisa Murkowski: “This is a bright day for America, so we thank you for that,” said the Alaska Republican. I mean, OK? Just not her best effort.
9. Dan Sullivan: Sullivan, an Alaska Republican senator and the least known of all the speakers, delivered a sort of central-casting note of praise for the President. “I want to thank you on behalf of all Alaskans and the American people because it’s the right policy, and we’re finally, finally doing it,” said Sullivan. Normally, that’s a top five-er in terms of plaudits. But Sullivan was playing in the big leagues today.
8. Don Young: The longest serving member of the current House — Young was elected first in 1973 — doesn’t usually say much at these sorts of events. (He has a penchant for making impolitic remarks.) But, sporting the coolest pair of glasses in the crowd, Young delivered a solid — if not spectacular — take on Trump’s #MAGA mantra. “This bill does what’s right for this nation, and the great land will be great again,” said Young. “Thank you, Mr. President.”
7. Paul Ryan: The speaker of the House was short but very sweet. He let Trump know that the tax bill “could not have been done without exquisite presidential leadership.” Don’t get me wrong: It’s good. But, candidly, I could have used a dollop or two more praise.
6. Kevin Brady: “People often ask, ‘When did you know? When did you know tax reform could be achieved in America for the first time in 31 years?’ ” Brady recounted. “My answer’s always the same: November 8, when President Trump, you were elected President of the United States.” He. Had. It. All. The. Way.
5. Mitch McConnell: The Senate majority leader and the President have not always seen eye to eye in 2017. But McConnell, ever the consummate politician, showed right from the start of his remarks that he was loaded for bear. He ticked off a series of Trump accomplishments — including the number of judicial appointees in the President’s first year — noting to Trump: “You hold the record.” (Earlier, in his own remarks, Trump bragged of “records all over the place, that will continue, and then some.”) McConnell wasn’t done, though! “This has been a year of extraordinary accomplishment for the Trump administration,” he threw in.
4. Kevin McCarthy: The California Republican, who is the No. 2 leader in the House, spoke toward the end of the lengthy program. Which makes it even more challenging to find ways that other people haven’t already used to pump up Trump. But, by gosh, McCarthy did it! “We would not be here today if it wasn’t for you,” McCarthy told Trump. And: “This is a big day for America. This is America’s comeback.”
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. …