To hear his aides tell it, President Trump is the great politician, communicator, competitor and dealmaker either in modern America or in history, period — a guy who changes the world for the better whenever he sets foot in a foreign country.
That may sound hyperbolic, but those who work for Trump have said each and every one of these things and more. In the past week alone, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski called Trump the greatest communicator in the history of politics. Not to be outdone, senior White House adviser Stephen Miller said Tuesday that Trump was the “best orator” and the most gifted politician in generations.
The Post's Jenna Johnson ably catalogued some of the Trump team's over-the-top praise for their boss in May. Given a new batch since then, I figured it was high time to pull it all together in one list.
And because Trump seems to crave this kind of praise, I've done him a favor and ranked each bit of praise by effusiveness and obsequiousness. We'll start with the most toned-down quote (sad!) and work our way to the ultimate bit of bootlicking.
10. Vice President Pence: “It is just the greatest privilege of my life is to serve as vice president to the president who's keeping his word to the American people and assembling a team that's bringing real change, real prosperity, real strength back to our nation.”
This was a quote from that awkward meeting of Trump's Cabinet officials, in which they took turns praising Trump and telling him how much of an honor it was to serve him. Pence's quote suggests it is his life's greatest honor to serve Trump, but he could also simply mean the presidency in general.
9. Reince Priebus: “On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you've given us to serve your agenda and the American people. And we're continuing to work very hard every day to accomplish those goals.”
8. Sean Spicer: “The president’s address to the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations was a historic turning point that people will be talking about for many years to come. He did exactly as he promised in his inaugural address: united the civilized world in the fight against terrorism and extremism.”
The former White House press secretary tended to trip over his words and probably didn't mean it, but here he says Trump “united the civilized world” with a single speech. That's quite a feat!
7. National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn: “The president was able to make some of the most amazing deals that have really been made by an administration ever. I have to tell you personally: I've been in business for 30 years, I've been doing this my entire life — I've never seen anything come together like this.”
This is higher praise than it seems, given that Cohn was a bigshot at Goldman Sachs. The phrase “that have really been made by any administration ever” really makes this one. It's as if Trump is saying it himself, because it suggests a degree of research that Cohn very likely never did.
6. Kellyanne Conway: “He's the ultimate dealmaker. He's the most brilliant communicator and natural connector with people I've ever seen.”
The “I've ever seen” caveat seems needlessly cautious when it comes to praising Trump. Why not just go for it?
5. Sebastian Gorka: “The president, in just 10 days, has changed the geopolitical reality wherever he went.”
This seems like really big praise. But “changed the geopolitical reality” isn't an inherently positive thing. Dr./Mr. Gorka could have done better here.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 9, 2017
4. Miller: “President Trump is the most gifted politician of our time. He's the best orator to hold that office in generations.”
This is placing Trump ahead of Ronald Reagan and arguably John F. Kennedy on both political gifts and oratory, which is a remarkable claim. Like Conway, though, Miller succumbs to an unfortunate limiting of the scope of his praise, saying it applies only to modern times.
3. Anthony Scaramucci: “I think he’s got some of the best political instincts in the world, perhaps in history. … He's the most competitive person I've ever met, okay? I've seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire. I've seen him at Madison Square Garden with a top coat on, he's standing in the key and he's hitting foul shots and swishing them. He sinks 3-foot putts.” (Scaramucci apparently meant to say "30-foot putts,” and the White House pretended that he had.)
This worked its way up the list as I looked at it. The sheer volume of praise here and the varied nature of it earns lots of points. You can see Trump thinking of himself tossing a football through a tire and getting a little twinkle in his eye. The “best political instincts” line is the takeaway, and Scaramucci really goes for it when he says “perhaps in history.” But again, it is qualified by “some of the” and “perhaps.”
Scaramucci on Pres. Trump: "I think he's got some of the best political instincts in the world, perhaps in history" https://t.co/k7qTriEv3G
— CNN (@CNN) July 21, 2017
2. Lewandowski: “Anybody who thinks they are gonna change the president is not going to, because he is the greatest communicator we have ever seen as an elected official; there is no question about it.”
Corey obliterates just about all of the qualifiers and caveats here, but why not just say he's the “greatest communicator we have ever seen,” full stop,” and leave off the “as an elected official”? Apparently he didn't want to compare Trump to Tony Robbins.
1. Hope Hicks: “President Trump has a magnetic personality and exudes positive energy, which is infectious to those around him. He has an unparalleled ability to communicate with people. … He is brilliant with a great sense of humor.”
This was a written statement in response to reports of Trump's ill treatment of his staff, and it's more over-the-top than anything else here. It also feel strangely third-grade toward the end.