Administration officials were not instructed to shower President Donald Trump with compliments at Monday’s Cabinet meeting, Ben Carson told CNBC.

Trump, after making initial remarks, said “Let’s go around the table,” asking Cabinet members to talk about their work, Carson said Tuesday on “Squawk Box.” It was “totally spontaneous,” added Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Following many negative headlines surrounding last week’s testimony from fired FBI Director James Comey that raised questions about whether Trump obstructed justice, the president started Monday’s Cabinet meeting talking about what he views as his accomplishments.

Normally, a president’s remarks end the on-camera coverage of Cabinet meetings. But Trump, after speaking Monday, invited the press to stick around and asked his most senior advisors to introduce themselves and say a few words. Here are some of their comments:

  • Vice President Mike Pence said serving as Trump’s number two is “the greatest privilege of my life.”
  • “An honor to be here,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions who is set to testify on Capitol Hill on Tuesday afternoon about his dealings with Russian officials and Trump’s dismissal of Comey.
  • “My hat is off to you,” said Energy Secretary Rick Perry, referring to Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. Perry ran unsuccessfully for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination against Trump.
  • Carson, also a one-time rival of Trump seeking the 2016 GOP nomination, said at Monday’s meeting that it’s “a great honor” to work with Trump.

On CNBC Tuesday, Carson addressed critics who trolled the president on social media, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who tweeted a video recreation with his staff.

Everybody is skeptical of Trump because he breaks the norms and doesn’t conduct the business of the nation the way career politicians would, Carson said. “People are different.”

Facebook Comments