Demanding Loyalty,
Demanding Adoration


President Trump responds to the allegation that he demanded personal loyalty from then FBI Director James Comey:

I hardly know the man. I’m not going to say, ‘I want you to pledge allegiance.’ Who would do that? Who would ask a man to pledge allegiance under oath? I mean, think of it. I hardly know the man. It doesn’t make sense. No, I didn’t say that.

President Donald Trump,   June 9, 2017

Some boorishness might be expected in a well known figure thrust suddenly, unexpectedly, into a position of national leadership. Some might have expected that the disrespectful liberties taken with unwilling women would provoke lasting damage. History will show none of that. Such incidents instead have served as a portend, a quest for complete dominance characterizing every relationship.

Even taking control of ongoing investigations, manipulating them to his own purposes would never serve as a warning to the most slavishly loyal of his followers.

When a national leader, one who insists on personal loyalty above all else, even loyalty to country, meets with officials of his administration, we might expect some bowing and scraping. After all, those whose future depends on the good will of the one they serve are to be expected to heap praise upon him, to seek his blessing, to assume an attitude of worship.

There is no actual transcript of the meeting. If there ever was, it was lost to history. But there are occasional reenactments. The entire nation witnessed one theatrical performance the other day.

There were expressions of humble gratitude, humble thanks for unexpected honor:

thank you[1]

thank you for the opportunity[7]

For the privilege

can’t thank you enough for the privileges[9]

an incredible privilege[14]

great privilege you’ve given me[1]

privileged to be here[8]

It’s a privilege to serve[13]

greatest privilege of my life[19]

The honor

what an incredible honor[9]

an honor to serve[14]

It was a great honor[2]

it’s an honor[3]

an even greater honor[2]

honor to serve[1]

Deeply honored[8]

a great honor[10]

deeply honored[5]

Personal Praise

the leadership that you’ve shown[9]

with your direction[16]

leading across the board[15]

I want to congratulate you[6]

You’re absolutely right[16]

my hat’s off to you[12]

Messages from the people, his people,
of their love and adoration:

The response is fabulous around the country.[4]

excited and enthusiastic folks are[9]

Hundreds and hundreds of people
were just so thrilled

The enthusiasm was uncontainable,
soaring into worship

It’s a joy[17]

an honor to be your steward[5]

It’s a new day[15]

Finally blossoming into a climactic benediction of worshipful praise and gratitude:

We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ve given us[18]

A sort of deification of national leaders can be expected after they are gone: a part of traditional reverence to the past, a respectful bow toward those who once led the most powerful nation on earth.

Still, we might expect a bit of shock when an emperor proclaims himself to be a god while he is still living.

As we learn that those same leaders were then ordered to wait on him and run beside his chariot as if they were hounds, we can begin to get the full measure of the obeisance he needed, and demanded, and got.

The dominance, the demand for personal loyalty, the need for worshipful adoration, were part of his eventual downfall.

Nearly two thousand years later, Caligula is still remembered.

He will never be remembered fondly.

Note: We thank the participants in this week’s re‑enactment:

  1. Rex W. Tillerson
  2. Steven Mnuchin
  3. James N. Mattis
  4. Jeff Sessions
  5. Ryan Zinke
  6. Sonny Perdue
  7. Wilbur Ross
  8. R. Alexander Acosta
  9. Tom Price
  10. Ben Carson
  11. Elaine L. Chao
  12. Rick Perry
  13. Betsy DeVos
  14. Mike Pompeo
  15. Nikki R. Haley
  16. Mick Mulvaney
  17. Dan Coats
  18. Reince Priebus
  19. Mike Pence

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12 thoughts on “Demanding Loyalty,
Demanding Adoration”

  1. In case no one noticed, Trump also wanted jets, tanks and missiles at his inauguration parade. The Donald has now become Kim Jong Don. He is our Dear Leader.

    That should work out swell for our country.

  2. Politicians should swear loyalty to the rule of law and the Constitution ONLY. Neither major party seems to do so anymore. None are held accountable and we are all guilty for letting them get away with their failures to do so.

    Far too many folks are willing to make exceptions when “there guy does it” and then turn around with faux outrage when the other side does the same thing. We have all reaped what we have sown.

  3. This goes beyond any “both sides” rhetoric. This resembles North Korea-style Dear Leader praise.

    And it’s funny because “Dear Leader” was one of the pet names the Right had for Obama, even though it is only Trump who has arranged for a room of loyal followers to praise him one by one in front of the media. I’m just wondering what is taking Republicans so long to acknowledge the kind of person Trump is. He has never been shy about voicing that he values praise and loyalty–over just about anything else, I would add.

  4. Ryan is correct. There is no “both sides” when it comes to Kim Jong Don. He is the product of far Right American con-servatism. While there are a few conservatives and Republicans who know better, most of them would rather continue to pillory Obama than denounce the words and behavior of Dear Leader. They don’t want to admit their ideology made this monster what he is.

  5. There is indeed a both sides equation here. Obama routinely did end-runs around the constitution and was hailed by many on the left for his governing by executive fiat. When the supremely arrogant Trump comes on board and does the same thing, now it becomes a problem for them.

    Yes, Trump is an absolutely narcissist, even surpassing Obama, I dare say. But the creation of that monster is not something from the conservative right.

    Trump was created and won because of the excesses of the Left and their lawless intransigence. That is what spawned this ass hat as a counter-stroke of the pendulum towards the right, albeit in that same arrogant and lawless manner.

  6. My point is confirmed. They not only don’t want to admit their ideology made this monster what he is, they will blame Trump on liberals! Wow. How far out from reality can they go to avoid responsibility?

    This is not only radical, illogical, unsupportable, and unreasonable it also reeks of hate. Not that Mr. Paine hates liberals. He just blames them for everything, and I mean everything, including Trump.

    So much for con-servatives taking “personal responsibility” for their actions and fueling this monster. This is how cons really see personal responsibility, blame liberals for everything. It is their ideology of division and hate.

    It seems Cons are pure as the driven snow, and liberals are evil for not accepting this.

    Mr. Paine’s twisted logic reminds me of racist Republican Steve King blaming Obama for the baseball field shooting. It’s what these racist sickos do, out of their abject unreasonable hatred of moderates, minorities and liberals.

    This is what Fascist Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said, ignoring the far Right domestic terrorists who killed 53 Americans between 2001 and 2016.

    “I do want to put some of this at the feet of Barack Obama. He contributed mightily to dividing us. He focused on our differences rather than our things that unify us. And this is some of the fruits of that labor.”

    “America has been divided. And the center of America is disappearing, and the violence is appearing in the streets, and it’s coming from the left.”

    And there’s more:

    King: “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about. Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

    Host Chris Hayes: “Than white people?”

    King: “Than Western civilization itself. It’s rooted in western Europe, eastern Europe and the United States of America and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That’s all of Western civilization.”

    (So were Hitler and Stalin, but cons call them liberals, of course. There is no reasoning with a cult that must invent their own facts.)

    The Republican racist King goes on:

    “You cannot rebuild your civilization with somebody else’s babies. You’ve got to keep your birth rate up… You need to teach your children your values and in doing so, then you can grow your population, and you can strengthen your culture, you can strengthen your way of life.”

    “Cultural suicide by demographic transformation must end.”

    “Just in case you were thinking about moving -> sanity reigns supreme in Iowa’s 4th congressional district” – David Duke approving of racist King.

    Not that Mr. Paine is a racist, he just blames liberals like racists love to blame liberals and non-whites.

    I repeat, Mr. Paine is NOT a racist. He simply plays the blame game like racists and fascists do.

    No shame. Just blame. It is the authoritarian mindset of the far Right.

    It wasn’t enough the gave us Bush and his financial collapse and war that spawned ISIS. Now they have blessed the US with the one-party dictatorship of Donald Trump.

    But he’s really a “liberal” too. The kind that puts Goldman Sachs and Exxon and pyramid scheme billionaires in his cabinet. The kind that says climate change is a hoax. The kind that regards the Breitbart hate site as journalism. The kind that hates the free press and mainstream journalism so much he calls them the enemy of the people. and has even called for imprisonment of his political rivals.

    Yup. THAT kind of liberal. No wonder Mr. Paine has his work cut out for him, converting us into believing his Cult of Right-wing Authoritarian Personalities, aka C.R.A.P.

  7. I am not talking about governing styles and degrees of respect for the Constitution and rule of law. I am talking about Trump’s unique little performance here and questioning why it is taking Republicans–voters and politicians alike–so long to question his demeanor and behavior publicly. The self-styled party of Christianity and morality itself is a joke for having selected and then elected such a man, whose vices are public knowledge, routinely on display, and seemingly a source of pride. I did not regard him as just another Republican, but the more I see Republicans defend him or deflect to problems about Obama or Democrats, the more I doubt myself.

    Even you find a way to condemn the Left in condemning him.

    1. Ryan, I agree with you on this, sir. Not only did I not vote for President Trump, but I also have very little respect for the man. His vulgarity, ignorance, arrogance, and unsurpassed ego are very dangerous traits for the leader of the free world to have. While he has done a few things policy-wise with which I agree, he has also done things that have caused or will cause great harm. I do not stand by him and I do denounce him. I long for an honorable person with integrity to once again occupy the White House. In the meantime, I hope the nation can withstand the foolishness that comes from our current president.

      As for Mr. Dubya, I really have nothing more to say to you and your exceptionally twisted logic as seen through red-tinted ideological glasses. It must be a very strange world indeed in which you live to see things as you do.

      1. Ryan,

        Trump is the kind of authoritarian the far Right has been wanting all along. They want a strong man. They want someone who proves IOKIYAR. Some Republicans are distancing themselves from Trump, not because of principle, but out of fear that they may lose the next election. Unfortunately they are all aboard with the Trump agenda. I commend the few with the integrity to denounce him.

        Mr. Paine,

        You have declared the far Right Republican authoritarian president a “liberal”, and blame liberals for the rise of that authoritarian. You have suggested rising CO2 levels come from the sun, or “warming”, and has no effect on climate change. You have suggested ice and snow accumulation in Antarctica proves there is no climate change, or some such perplexing nonsense. You have demeaned climate researchers as some sort of global conspiracy of evil climate scientists for disagreeing with your far Right politically correct denial.

        There is not much more you can say to top these absurd notions.

        Except for maybe facts are simply “red tinted”? Which brings us to your commie card….again.

        I commend your denouncing Trump. I condemn your outrageously false and accusatory lie that he is a liberal product of liberalism. These are the kind of lies that have fed the monster and divided our country.

        You have agreed with this statement from Ryan:

        The self-styled party of Christianity and morality itself is a joke for having selected and then elected such a man… But you tell us he is a product of liberalism. You can’t have it both ways.

        You have found enough common ground with Trump that contradicts your preposterous claims. He is a product of the Right. Not even Alex Jones is that far out in left field.

        If you refuse to see that, perhaps your hood is obstructing your vision? Just kidding. See how it feels?

        Just understand, as a liberal, I resent and reject your constant flow of false accusations and blame. It reeks of you-know-what. Liberals have endured the bile of C.R.A.P. for decades. Unlike many passive liberals, I will resist.

        You may entertain your wild alternative facts all you like, but as far as false accusations and blame go, don’t tread on me.

  8. At the risk of engaging you in nonsensical debate once again, Dave, I would like to add one thing as a matter of clarification.

    When I say that the Left created Trump, what I am saying is that their lawless actions or seeming tacit approval thereof with President Obama and others was so over-the-top and far to the left that the inevitable response was for the pendulum to swing back the other way to the far right to counter that. While I certainly don’t accept most of Trump’s credentials for being a conservative, he spoke a great game that appealed to many on the far right that was evidently enough to get him elected.

    I think President Trump’s core values are still leftist where he was for the majority of his life, until he seized the opportunity to tack to the right to gain the GOP nomination. Like the Clintons, his only true unwavering core value is the acquisition of power/money.

    Trump won as a political outsider populist because of the excesses of the liberal elite from both parties that were running Washington D.C. and the country. He won because he said he would once again listen to the millions of Americans that the Left (and Right) had abandoned and disenfranchised in order to kowtow to leftist special interests. In that manner, the Left and it’s sickening actions did indeed create the monster of President Donald J. Trump, sir.

    As for your climate change nonsense, I will address that in an upcoming post on my own blog in the near future… not that it will matter one iota to a true believer in the global warming religion. 🙂

  9. Mr. Paine,
    Trump won the electoral college only because less than a hundred thousand voters over three states voted for him over Hillary. She won 3 million more votes, and that means she was more popular. Your other points miss the basic truths as well.

    It is abundantly obvious Trump’s “core values” are not leftist.

    I suspect your expertise in climate science will be similarly lacking in accuracy.

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