This isn’t what democracy looks like.
The effusive praise Supreme Leader Trump received at this cabinet meeting would have made Kim Jong-un envious. The North Korean leader merely gets deferential note-taking from his meek entourage as they smile and scribble, but Trump apparently likes obeisance to come in a form more befitting for Genghis Khan.
Superficially, this performance from Trump cabinet members might merely seem like an awkward and staged presentation of “successful leadership,” but much more importantly, what each individually is doing here is publicly shredding every last ounce of self-respect they might have had, as they ingratiate themselves in an obscenely servile manner before the man who thereby claims their absolute loyalty.
No explicit loyalty pledge is necessary from those who are willing to stoop so low.
Trump hopes to ensure that his fate and that of those around him are so deeply entangled that they cannot contemplate his political demise without also beholding their own.
The fact that Trump asked for James Comey’s loyalty, demonstrates the degree to which he felt threatened by the FBI director’s independence.
For Trump, anyone with independence and integrity poses a threat to his authority.