President Bill Clinton’s defense secretary said Friday that he’s embarrassed to watch President Trump’s Cabinet praise Trump, and said the president isn’t acting very presidential by demanding that.
“It’s embarrassing to watch,” William Cohen said on MSNBC. “I look at that … Cabinet meeting where every official went around the circle praising the president as if he were a cult figure.”
“This worship of the office, or seeking to reinforce a gratification experience by the president I think is … it’s certainly not consistent with what I have known and come to expect from a president,” he added.
Trump’s Cabinet went around the room in June praising Trump, although Cohen noted that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis seemed to avoid doing that at the time.
“To his credit, I saw Secretary Mattis indicate he was honored to be able to represent the men and women serving in our military,” he said. “I thought that was the appropriate tone to take.”
But Cohen said Trump’s recent antics, including tossing out paper towels to victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, were also unbecoming.
“Can you imagine Ronald Reagan throwing paper towels out into a crowd of people who have gone without food?” he asked.
“If Barack Obama had thrown those towels out into the audience like that, I think there would have been a reaction in this country which would have been overwhelmingly negative and critical,” Cohen said.
“I don’t think there is a measuring up to the dignity of the office and the sanctity of the office,” he said. “I still want the president to conduct himself in a way that doesn’t draw down or demean the significance and the great privilege of occupying that office.”