Resolute Square

Donald Trump, Gaslighter-In-Chief

"Donald Trump is a liar. He is a master manipulator, a deceiver, and a distractor," writes Gevin Reynolds with all the directness, passion, and honesty that the moment requires - doing what far too few with a platform still manage to do after eight long years of gaslighting.
Published:April 17, 2024

By Gevin Reynolds

Last Friday, Donald Trump convened a press conference at Mar-a-Lago to sound the alarm on an issue that simply does not exist: non-citizen voting. Flanked by House Speaker Mike Johnson, the former president set the scene by making wild and entirely false claims about the situation at the southern border. “Millions and millions” of people, he said, are entering our country from “jails and prisons, mental institutions and insane asylums” in countries like Venezuela and…“the Congo?” Because of this, the men explained, our country now faces the “serious problem” of non-citizen voting – and apparently, it requires a legislative solution. If Congress doesn’t act quickly, Johnson said, non-citizens could possibly cast "hundreds of thousands of votes” this November.

The only issue? Non-citizen voting isn’t a problem. Like, at all. In fact, it’s illegal for non-citizens to vote in state and federal elections, and it rarely ever happens. Just think about it: if you were an undocumented immigrant, would you really risk deportation to cast a single vote? Probably not. And I think Trump and Johnson would agree. That’s why I don’t think their true goal is to crack down on non-citizen voting. Rather, it’s to sow doubt in our electoral process. That way, when Trump loses for the second time, MAGA Republicans can claim once again that the election was stolen. It’s all part of a strategy to deceive and distract. And it goes far beyond the non-issue of non-citizen voting.

Speaking of stolen elections, Donald Trump has yet to accept his loss from four years ago. He continues to call it “rigged.” The violent insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on January 6? He calls them “hostages” who “love our country.” Nobody, he recently said, has been “treated ever in history so badly as those people.” The scary part is that his deception has so infiltrated his party that 34% of Republicans believe that the FBI orchestrated the attack on the Capitol. Along those lines, Trump has decried America as a “third-world nation that has weaponized its law enforcement against the opposing political party like never, ever before.” All to distract from his own vows to “direct a completely overhauled DOJ to investigate every radical DA and AG in America” and to “appoint a real special prosecutor to go after the most corrupt president in the history of the United States of America, Joe Biden.” 

We see more of Trump’s blatant deception and distraction in his supposed play for Black voters. Last month, he said that “100% of the Black people should vote for Trump” because apparently he “did more for Black people than any president other than Abraham Lincoln.” It’s hard to take such a claim even remotely seriously. But again, it’s to hide the fact that he is the president who re-normalized a culture of trickle-down racism and mismanaged a public health crisis that cost thousands of Black people their lives. His DOJ under-investigated civil rights violations, and it has been reported that in a second term, he is preparing to crack down on racism…against white people. No amount of (incredibly insulting) sweet-talking, milkshake-buying, or sneaker-selling can make us forget any of that. Oh, and to Trump’s RNC: if you’re really trying to win the Black vote (which you’re not), maybe try not closing down all of your minority outreach centers (and laying off their Black and brown staff in the process).

Perhaps the most egregious example of Donald Trump’s deception and distraction has been on the issue of reproductive freedom. During the same news conference last Friday, the former president doubled down on his claim that he would not sign a nationwide abortion ban. And without any additional context, one might be tempted to believe him. But you’d only have to keep listening for one more second to hear him proudly declare, “We broke Roe v. Wade.” Going even further, he said that since the Dobbs decision, “beautiful harmony” has ensued. Really? Do the sounds of women screaming through near-fatal miscarriages sound like “beautiful harmony” to you, Mr. Trump? The states, he added, are “working very brilliantly.” Really? Does that include the 21 states that enacted bans or severe restrictions on reproductive freedom after Dobbs? Just wondering. This is called gaslighting, and Donald Trump cannot be trusted when he says that he won’t sign an abortion ban. The situation in which 25 million American women now find themselves is Trump’s doing. Vice President Harris said it: “Trump did this.” And clearly, he is proud to have done it.

Make no mistake: Donald Trump is a liar. He is a master manipulator, a deceiver, and a distractor. Donald Trump knows he will never again be our commander-in-chief. It’s about time we fire him as our gaslighter-in-chief, too.

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