Editor’s Note: Open a browser tab for this fiery analysis of one of President-elect Donald Trump’s most odious rhetorical habits — we’re going to need it over the next four years. Former Digital Editor Andrea Grimes shows how, no, we’re not all crazy — Trump is just trying to make us think we are with his habit of gaslighting. —Forrest Wilder
The GOP is Gaslighting America — on National Television
By Andrea Grimes
Published July 20
There’s a word for what Manafort’s doing there: gaslighting, as MTV News’ Jamil Smith pointed out on Twitter Tuesday morning. Gaslighting is a psychological tactic used by abusers, particularly but not only domestic abusers, to confuse, shame and manipulate others into believing that they cannot accurately interpret reality. Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson echoed Manafort later on Tuesday, flat-out denying that the speech was plagiarized. She too used the word “absurd.”
“Absurd” is no accident. It’s a short couple steps from “crazy,” and in the realm of “unreal,” “preposterous” and “bizarre.” The Trump campaign is using that word to call anyone who sees the blatant plagiarism in Melania Trump’s speech, basically, a nutzo-whackjob.
If you’ve been in an abusive relationship, you know this pattern. Thinking, day after day: Today will be the day I prove that I am not crazy, that I can do things right, that the way I see things is real.