This is very, very strange…
President Trump declared on Monday that he had led a “record-setting” pace of activity and been one of the most productive presidents in American history.
He made the remarks at a highly unusual cabinet meeting in which he sought to deflect attention from his faltering agenda and the accusations leveled against him by his former F.B.I. director by basking in the adulation of senior members of the government.
Days after James B. Comey charged that Mr. Trump had lied and inappropriately sought to influence an F.B.I. investigation into his campaign’s possible ties with Russia, the president said the country was “seeing amazing results” from his leadership. He also promised to hold a news conference within two weeks on combating terrorism, including the Islamic State.
“I will say that never has there been a president, with few exceptions — in the case of F.D.R. he had a major Depression to handle — who’s passed more legislation, who’s done more things than what we’ve done,” Mr. Trump told a cabinet meeting as reporters looked on. “We’ve been about as active as you can possibly be and at a just about record-setting pace.”
Mr. Trump has yet to sign any major legislation since taking office. His effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act was delayed after a failed first attempt, and his administration is months away from unveiling either a major tax cut package or the sweeping infrastructure plan he has promised.
After his introductory remarks on Monday, the president went around the table asking for a statement from each cabinet member. One by one, they said their names and paid tribute to Mr. Trump, describing how honored they were to serve in his administration as he nodded approvingly.
“Thank you for the opportunity to serve at S.B.A.,” said Linda McMahon, the head of the Small Business Administration, touting “a new optimism” for small businesses.
Ben Carson, the housing secretary, called it “a great honor” to work for Mr. Trump, while Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary, offered congratulations for “the men and women you have gathered around this table.”
And amid fresh reports that his job is in danger, Reince Priebus, the chief of staff, outdid them all, telling Mr. Trump — and the assembled news cameras — that “we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing to serve your agenda.”
The loyalty pledges unfolded the day before Attorney General Jeff Sessions is due to testify before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about his involvement with Moscow and his role in the firing of Mr. Comey. Mr. Sessions has recused himself from the Russia investigation.
The tableau in the White House’s Cabinet Room struck many observers, including former White House officials familiar with the day-to-day workings of the president and the senior officials in his administration, as extraordinary.