Trump is gaslighting the public

Courtesy of our blogging friend Gronda, I was reading several tweets from Nobel Laureate Economist Paul Krugman. He called on the carpet the media for not condemning the US President for blaming his most recent tirade on the Canadian Prime Minister. In his tweets, Krugman used the term “gaslighting.”

This term set the bells off in my mind. For those not familiar with the term, it comes from the movie “Gaslight,” where a man who turns out to be the antagonist has been tricking the female homeowner to believe that she is crazy, as he tries to steal some rare jewels in her attic. To convince someone of something not real became known as “gaslighting.”

This term is so appropriate to define the modus operandi of the US President. He oversimplifies the cause of problems or invents nonexistent ones playing off people’s fears. He misinforms or disinforms to gaslight people into believing a simple solution is the answer.

The US is a consumer economy moreso than other places (we buy more stuff), which is why we run trade deficits, eg. Yet, he tells only part of the story because when investments and services are counted, we actually have a trade surplus with Canada. But, the President said….

Certain pockets of America have retrenched, but it is not only due immigration. In fact, it is mostly due to technology and companies searching for cheaper labor by moving plants oversees. We produce much much than we used to with much fewer people. Immigration is actually accretive to the economy making it larger. Should we be smarter about our immigration issues – of course – but let’s have reasonable conversation about what is wanted and needed. Let’s not gaslight people into demonizing others.

And, if you don’t like gaslighting, I have another term that defines the President – he is a spoiled brat.


28 thoughts on “Trump is gaslighting the public

  1. Thus moron needs help in gaslighting h s really not that smart. That so many can be gaslighted says something about them too. Frankly. I think it’s more succumbing to his bullying. The cowards.

    • Holly, in my calls to Senators to get them to support the Bob Corker tariff bill, I often used the term “spoiled brat” to describe the President. I tell them how sad it is that he has bullied and lied to our allies. Why would any leader trust this man? It past time that the Republicans address this man who is destroying our reputation. Keith

      • It’s way past time for action by our Republican Congress but there is silence but for a few. It is shameful And unpatriotic, exactly what they like to call anyone who acts for the good of our country rather than for The Trump agenda.

      • Holly, you are right. People that care about the truth need to let these legislators know. I need to dig out an old magazine article from Time or Newsweek written more than ten years ago. By 2050, China will be the dominant country in the world. In my view, Trump is accelerating their progress by greasing the skids. China sends two dozen people to global and regional meetings to work the rooms while we cut back on a strength – diplomats – sending two to three people. Coupling that with bullying our allies and we truly are making the US an outlier.

        I give credit to Trump for meeting with Kim Jong Un, but the big winner will be China, if we take troops out of North Korea. I hope we are very thoughtful how we go forward as the details are very thin in the letter. Clearly, Kim Jong Un has been masterful in playing his hand as he becomes more legitimized in the world’s eyes, while still being a dictator. Keith

      • “It’s past time that Republicans address this man…”

        The Republican Party helped bring this turd to power. As Frank Zappa once said, the only thing this party is good at is making money. Anything else, it needs to get out of the road. And Zappa said it back when there were still a few GOP moderates left. But for a few, like Susan Collins of Maine, the moderates have been swept out by the wingnuts. “Address this man”? Not likely. Our only hope is a Dem sweep in November. Hopefully America will have awoken from its slumber by then.

      • Pete, thanks for your comment. What I find interesting is a point you make in about Zappa’s comments. The story line is the GOP is all about making money and even Democrats cede this. But, Democrats are lousy marketers because the data reveals over time, under twelve Democrat White Houses versus twelve Republican White Houses, the number of jobs created on the Dems’ watch dwarfs that under GOP White Houses, the economy performs measurably better as does the stock market.

        The GOP can even add the results under Trump’s first 17 months and the comparative results are largely the same. Also, Trump will not do this, but he should thank Obama for handing him the reins on a pretty good economy – we are now 107 consecutive months of economic growth and over 90 consecutive months of job growth. While Presidents get too much credit and blame for these numbers, they do provide headwinds and tailwinds. Trump has provided both, but most of his tailwinds will start hitting the economy – borrowing from our future, trade battles, making the US less inviting for immigrants and too deep of cuts in regulations – later rather than sooner.

        Yet, he is very good at patting himself on the back and convincing his followers that he ,snapped his fingers and made the economy better – gaslighting at its best.


      • Holly, it should telling that he gets along with dictators and oppressive leaders better than Democratically elected ones – I put Putin in the former category as when you jail your opponents and threaten liberties, it is not much of a democracy. Keith

    • Janis, whether his followers see the danger is less relevant. It is up to those who do and care to reach out to Senators and Congresspersons to support the Corker tariff bill. I have spoken or emailed fourteen Senators and my Congressman. With some, I did use the term “spoiled brat.” I think on future calls I will use the term gaslighting.

      My guess many Senators know what a dishonorable man he is, but they remain reluctant to call him out. My guess is most businesses are pressuring them to go against the President, even the Koch Brothers. Keith

  2. First … I love your last line, for that is exactly what he is: a spoiled brat. The thing that comes to my mind frequently is the same thing Holly said … how can so many people be so gullible??? While Trump is the guilty one, the one who perpetuates the lies, the people who follow blindly without ever questioning must, I think, share a portion of the blame for where we are today. At some point, aren’t we each responsible to check things out, to search for facts, to verify what we are told? We are adults, not gullible children. And as for our not-so-illustrious Congress … the republicans in Congress are more concerned with their own fame & fortune than they are our well-being, but I’m also disappointed with the democrats in Congress, for I don’t hear them loudly crying “FOUL” as I would expect them to.

    • Jill, sends the President uses labels as part of his gaslighting process, I think it should be emphasized that he acts like a spoiled brat. I used it with most of the staff and voicemails of Senators. I usually add how sad i am to think of the President in that way. They know, but more of them need to come out.

      Marc Short, the President’s legislative liaison, was on PBS Newshour again. After his usual smug delivery of the great things the President, he was noticeably stunned when Judy Woodruff read Senators McCain and Collins remarks supporting the G7 and Canada. More leaders need to do that. Keith

      • I agree … more of them need to speak out as McCain and Collins did, but they also need to put their votes where their mouths are. I truly think that most in Congress think Trump is their boss instead of us.

      • Jill, they see what just happened to Congressman Mark Sanford, who criticized Trump. His base has a heightened level of cognitive dissonance. Trump is so good at gaslighting, he can make his followers believe anything. Just look at how adroitly he has gotten Trudeau to take the blame for Trump’s brazenness with tariffs. Keith

  3. Dear Keith,

    The president keeps blowing as he continues to act on his gut instincts which are for the most part, wrong headed.

    He probably wishes the US had signed onto TPP but the countries that did sign on are not having it. These other countries include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

    You notice that Canada and Mexico did sign onto TPP. I can’t help but wonder if this is just one reason out of many of why President Trump has been acting out against these two nations as both these countries were mum on this idea.

    None of them have the stomach to be subjected to President Trump’s style of wanting to renegotiate TPP after watching the way he is supposedly re-negotiating on the NAFTA trade agreements with Canada and Mexico.

    The Democratic leaders need to get off their butts to do some educating of the public.

    There needs to be a frequent counter narrative to all the president’s lies. Facts/ truth do matter.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, all good points. He does not care for multi-party agreements as he uses a zero-sum, narrow focus. He does not care for details, nor does he want to learn them. As a result, his negotiating skills are lacking. That was supposed to be his strength. He has been played by Xi and may be being played by Kim. His stance on tariffs with our allies is “ruinous” according to conservative pundit David Brooks.


  4. Never mind, he shook hands with Kim and said everyone has a lot of work to do. This reminded me of one of the many quotes out of Full Metal Jacket ‘You talk the talk. But can you walk the walk?’

    • Roger, it is good they met and it is good tensions have lessened. I have worried more about our ego-maniacal front man than theirs. So, if we can keep the car keys away from Trump, he is likely to kill someone.

      I do believe Kim has become legitimized and continues to use that to his advantage. The devil is in the details, which are not Trump’s strength. Keith

      • Kim is playing the world at the present. Putin wants to meet him.
        He must have been working on this all those years of growing up seeing as how as soon as he was in power he purged the old guard.

      • Roger, I think you may be right. I think there will be pressure by Xi and Putin to lower sanctions. He accomplished a lot without giving up much.

        Trump should get credit for the meeting, but Moon deserves a lot. Kim realized he had a President who is more interested in style than substance. Keith

  5. I just ran into a quote by Trump that illustrates your point, “Honestly, I think he’s going to do these things. I may be wrong. I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘hey, I was wrong.’ I don’t know that I’ll admit that but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.”

    • Roseylinn, this is a surprising, but accurate self-reflection. Roy Cohn, his mentor told him to not apologize for anything, which he has followed. The admission is akin to his admission he could shoot someone Lang his followers would still support him. Keith

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