(CNN)The best way to get ahead in Donald Trump’s White House is to say as many over-the-top nice things about Donald Trump as possible. It is known.
Peter Navarro, Trump’s top trade adviser, took the praise-the-boss-at-all-costs strategy to new heights on Sunday during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.At the start of the interview, Tapper asked Navarro about comments made by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti that, when it came to natural disasters like the wildfires raging in California, that Republican states tended to get better response from the federal government than Democratic ones. Here’s how Navarro responded (bolding is mine):”Well, that’s offensive.”If you look at what President Trump did, for example, for the city and state of New York, it was an incredible transfer of resources up there, ships, PPE. Everything that New York wanted, they got.Read More”So, please, Mr. Garcetti, take care of Los Angeles better than you are doing.”I would — if — one of the things I’d like to do before we get started, though, is, I would really like to congratulate President Trump on being nominated for the Peace Prize, the Nobel Peace Prize, because this last week, if you look at the signal, rather than the noise, he brokered a second deal with Bahrain.”Amazing.Navarro, quite clearly, wanted to make sure that he got in that mention of Trump being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize right at the top of the interview — no matter what. Probably because he knew that Trump would definitely be watching the very beginning of the interview and would definitely see his trade guy singing his praises.(Trump was nominated for the Peace Prize by a Norwegian lawmaker who is a member of a far-right, anti-immigration party. The same lawmaker nominated Trump for the prize in 2018 as well.)And Navarro, because he’s done his homework, knows that Trump has long been fixated on the Nobel committee — and the fact that he hasn’t won a Peace Prize yet.”I think I’m going to get a Nobel Prize for a lot of things, if they gave it out fairly, which they don’t,” Trump said in September 2019 while at the United Nations. “They gave it out — well, they gave one to Obama immediately upon his ascent to the presidency, and he had no idea why he got it. And you know what? That was the only thing I agreed with him on.”(Barack Obama won the Peace Prize in 2009 for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people.”)
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In the immediate aftermath of the announcement that he had been nominated for the Peace Prize this year, Trump went on a retweeting spree — sharing praise for his nomination from luminaries in the Trump universe including Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs, conservative talk radio host Mark Levin and QAnon-supporting Georgia Republican House candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany opened her press briefing last Wednesday with praise for the President; “This is a hard-earned and well-deserved honor,” she said.And on Sunday night, during an indoor campaign rally in Nevada, Trump himself made sure his audience knew about the nomination. “They nominated your president twice last week, for two different subjects, for a Nobel prize — but the fake news media didn’t cover it,” he said.Navarro then is giving Trump exactly what he wants. He’s going out of his way not just to praise Trump but doing it in a way that he can go back to Trump and say: They were trying to ignore this giant honor of yours but I wouldn’t let them!Navarro is following in a long tradition of Trump administration officials trying to one-up one another when it comes to how obsequious they can be to their boss. Vice President Mike Pence has long been the Platonic ideal of this apple-polishing. At a single Cabinet meeting in 2017, he once praised Trump every 12 seconds for three minutes straight, according to calculations made by The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake. And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has risen through the ranks of Trump’s administration — and into his current status as Most Favored Cabinet Member — by his willingness to praise Trump no matter what. (In a speech from Jerusalem at the Republican National Convention late last month, Pompeo said he and his family are “more safe and their freedoms more secure because President Trump has put his America First vision into action. It may not have made him popular in every foreign capital, but it’s worked.”Navarro’s appearance with Tapper on Sunday serves as a shot across the bow on the two Mikes: You guys now have competition for the suck-up title.