Poor outdated Joe Biden. He might need received the electoral faculty and the standard vote however he’ll by no means really feel the love of his underlings like Donald Trump did.
The former president’s first full cabinet meeting in June 2017 stays an unparalleled opera of oleaginousness. Secretary after secretary all however flung themselves at his toes, sang songs of reward and paid homage to the divine emperor of the universe.
Has any mother or father ever recognized such timeless adoration from their youngster? Only King Lear from Goneril and Regan, maybe. And most telling was the proven fact that the world was allowed to see it. Trump made certain it was another chapter in his reality TV presidency.
Not actually Biden’s model. His first cabinet meeting on Thursday was relocated to the East Room due to coronavirus restrictions – the 16 everlasting members wore face masks and sat in an enormous sq. with empty chairs between them – however was in any other case a return to the staid outdated means of doing issues.
The essential merchandise on the agenda was not the American president’s sculpted handsomeness, nor his towering mind, nor his indubitable virility, nor his capability to hit holes in a single, however merely his freshly introduced $2tn infrastructure plan.
Flanked by the secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and the protection secretary, Lloyd Austin, with the vice-president, Kamala Harris, reverse, Biden mentioned he was asking 5 cabinet members to “take special responsibility to explain the plan to the American public”.
He took no questions from the media and, after lower than two and a half minutes, reporters have been ushered out. “I thank the press for being here, but I’ll talk to you all later.”
But even this temporary glimpse behind the curtain spoke volumes about how a lot has modified. White males composed practically three-quarters of Trump’s cabinet; they make up solely a 3rd of Biden’s.
On Thursday the East Room included Harris, the first lady and first lady of color to service as vice-president; Janet Yellen, the first lady to guide the treasury division; Pete Buttigieg, the first overtly homosexual secretary confirmed to the cabinet; and Deb Haaland, the first Native American in a president’s cabinet.
“This is the first in American history that the cabinet looks like America,” Biden mentioned. “That’s what we promised we were going to do, and we’ve done it.”
If Trump represented a backlash towards America’s first Black president, Biden’s cabinet represents a backlash towards the backlash.
Their refusal to play to the cameras with ever escalating sycophancy was additionally a reminder that the reality TV presidency didn’t get renewed for a second season.
Ratings are down and, such is the absence of scandals, Biden’s pet canines are making information for biting folks and depositing poo in a White House hallway. Cabinet members like Tom Vilsack and Denis McDonough merely can’t compete with Ben Carson or Rick Perry for comedian impact.
Spare a thought for the late-night comedians immediately going chilly turkey. How they feasted on that first Trump cabinet meeting, which started with Mike Pence declaring that it was “the greatest privilege of my life to serve as the vice-president to the president who is keeping his word to the American people”.
Reince Priebus, the White House chief of employees, adopted up: “We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ve given us to serve your agenda.” As Trump went round the room, practically each secretary strove to outdo the one earlier than in the olympics of obsequiousness.
Late-night comic Stephen Colbert summed up: “These are adults, some of them are billionaires, and they’re just happy to have their leashes yanked as the cameras roll for the dear leader.
“I did not know that Trump has such a strict ‘please check your balls at the door’ policy. Honestly, this is next-level weird. This is an unprecedented public stroke-fest for an emotionally frail man.”
It was, after all, humorous till it wasn’t. In a rustic the place politics is the new faith, with all its religion and fervour and absolutes, worship of that specific Messiah led all the method to the lethal storming of the US Capitol on 6 January. Ordinary Joe is extra in the vein of Bertolt Brecht: sad the land that’s in want of heroes.