Many words have been used to describe the first year of Donald Trump's presidency and, before Wednesday, "exquisite" was not one of them. That, nonetheless, is the word House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) reached for when effusively praising Trump's "leadership" shortly following the GOP's final tax victory.
"There are ass kissers, there are sycophantic ass kissers, there are shameless ass kissers, there are embarrassing ass kissers...and then there's Mike Pence."
Despite the fact that "by all accounts, the president did not participate in the legislative deliberations," praise for the president after the GOP's passage of a $1.5 trillion tax bill quickly became the theme of the day.
Vice President Mike Pence kicked off the "sycophantic" lovefest with what commentators could only describe as a sort of "prayer of thanks to Trump"—reminiscent of that infamous White House cabinet meeting over the summer, during which administration officials hailed what an "opportunity and blessing" it is to work alongside the president.
"I’m deeply humbled, as your vice president, to be able to be here," Pence said.
Good Lord, you need to watch this. After Ben Carson's Prayer, Mike Pence actually delivered a prayer of thanks to Trump. Must watch. pic.twitter.com/sAq9OQnQT9— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) December 20, 2017
And that was just the beginning. During a gathering in front of the White House Wednesday, congressional Republicans stepped to the podium one-by-one to christen the least popular first-year president in modern American history as "one heck of a leader."
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)—the author of a provision in the GOP tax bill that will further enrich himself, Trump, and more than a dozen other Republican senators—outdid them all, fawning over the president's "sheer will" and saying "I just hope that we all get behind him every way we can, and we'll get this country turned around in ways that will benefit the whole world."
"We're going to make this the greatest presidency that we've seen, not only in generations, but maybe ever," Hatch added.
"I think the exaggeration of having to kiss the ring of Donald Trump—it almost seems like a scene out of 'The Godfather' we just saw, not what you would expect from the president of a democracy," said historian Douglas Brinkley.
The social media world had enough of the endless praise, as well:
It was sickening pic.twitter.com/EvctfvYf0V— IndivisibleTx27 (@indivisibletx27) December 20, 2017