President Trump responded to the news that the Public Theater was putting on a defiant production of “Julius Caesar” by staging his own production of “King Lear” during a very strange Cabinet meeting on Monday

It went approximately as follows. 

Trump: All right. Which of you shall we say doth love us most, that we our largest bounty may extend where nature doth with merit challenge? Go around, name your position, talk about your work. Start with Mike.

Mike Pence: I love you more than words can wield the matter. Dearer than eyesight, space and liberty. Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare. No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honor; as much as child e’er loved, or father found. A love that makes breath poor and speech unable. Beyond all manner of so much I love you. Serving you has been “the greatest privilege of my life,” Mr. Lear.

Jeff Sessions: Sir, I am made of that self mettle as my sister, And prize me at her worth. In my true heart, I find she names my very deed of love — Only she comes too short, that I profess Myself an enemy to all other joys, Which the most precious square of sense possesses. And find I am alone felicitate in your dear highness’ love. “An honor to be here.”

Jim Mattis: I respect the troops a lot.

Trump: Nothing will come of nothing. Speak again.

Mattis: (uncomfortably) I prefer to maintain a dignified silence in the presence of media.

Follow Alexandra Petri‘s opinionsFollowAdd

Mike Pompeo: Hey, that’s my line!

Rick Perry: i like you more than i like my hat
and i like my hat a lot
my glasses i don’t like because i sometimes feel that they are judging me and whispering that i am not smart
but you and my hat are both okay
i take it off to honor you
thank you for showing the Earth who was boss, and for showing the Paris accords that the only real Paris is in the Lone Star State.

Linda McMahon: Thank you for letting me work at the Small Business Administration! With you in charge we will have to change the name, because nothing will be small. Businesses will not be small, and dreams will not be small. You will lift us up and hold us in the palms of your right-size hands. You have won the biggest smackdown of all, against the economy, which before was raw and now is cooked.

Alexander Acosta: When I look at you, I feel the way dogs feel when they look at anyone. Merely to breathe your air is an unthinkable honor. (begins to strike himself on the chest) No, air, leave my foul and corrupted lungs and go where you may be appreciated, into the magnificent lungs of Donald Trump, where you will help to power a true king among men. Turn his blood even redder and help to make him strong. He must be strong — for all of us.

Tom Price: My king, please glance into the doorway, where my strong son has brought you a nightingale made entirely of gold and silver. Take it with my compliments and let its tinkling mechanical song fill your heart with joy and make your people glad. If you wish, my son will join your household as your loyal retainer. His presence will vouch for my loyalty, and he knows what will happen to him if I fail you.

Mick Mulvaney: Your budget is more beautiful than the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and was put together much quicker. It will benefit the same people. Also, you smell nice, like an expensive pine tree.

Elaine Chao: You have helped me to make hundreds of people happy!

Trump: Only hundreds?

Chao: (swallows nervously) That is a lot. Just try to count to a hundred. It’s not even POSSIBLE.

(Trump appears to think for a long time, then slowly nods.)

Sonny Perdue: My lord, when you walk in the street, dogs leave their masters to follow at your heels and cats who see you experience loyalty for the first time. Young brides, stepping out of churches, release their husbands’ arms and rush to throw themselves at your feet. The husbands would do so, too, if they knew that it would not make you slightly uncomfortable, as the mere thought of making you uncomfortable fills them with a sorrow greater than any sorrow they have ever known. When you smile, it is not winter anymore. You alone can melt the frozen heart and the frozen polar ice cap. Also, you are very popular in Mississippi.

Ben Carson: I know what it is to hold a human life in my gifted hands and perform a surgery that is a matter of life or death. So you will understand when I say that the most precious thing I have ever held in my hands is … you. You mean everything. Everything. Everything. (begins to weep with emotion) I believe that if you touched any of us right here, you could heal us all and there would be no need for science. But you must do what you think best.

Reince Priebus: You smell like a thousand angels. Sometimes I think you might be an angel. If heaven is not serving you, I don’t know what is. Maybe there is no heaven. I am grateful to God every day for putting you into my life. You are sunshine. My only sunshine. The only sunshine. “On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ven give us to serve your agenda and the American people.”

This seems fine.