Which is what struck me as I read today’s New York Times breakdown (so to speak) of Trump’s, um, cabinet meeting the other day. (Trump’s cabinet = the worst and the dimmest. Or, in Trumpian tweet-mode: the Worst and the Dimmest.)
In “The Freewheeling and Fact-Free Cabinet Meeting,” The Times did its best to emphasize the surreality — and lies — of the gathering. Here is the excerpt at which I found myself reawakened to the horror of what we’re living through, a horror somewhat pacified by the results of the 2018 election:
Cabinet members know the value of praise.
One by one, the president called on select cabinet members for their contributions to border security. One by one, they responded by praising their boss.
Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary, applauded his leadership on border security. She was followed the acting attorney general, Matthew G. Whitaker, who saluted the president for giving up his Christmas and New Year’s holidays “while some members of Congress went on vacation.” Rick Perry, the energy secretary and a former governor of Texas, also praised the president, saying he had been rebuffed on border security from the Obama administration. “You’re standing up and saying don’t come,” Mr. Perry said.
Not to be outdone, Vice President Mike Pence noted that he, too, stayed in Washington over the holidays. Then he, too, piled on the compliments: “I want to thank you for the strong stand you have taken on border security.”
This isn’t how it works, is it? This isn’t how anything works, outside of a dystopian novel.