A group of mental health professionals, who advocate for the removal of Donald Trump from office as mentally unfit under the 25th Amendment to U.S. Constitution, posted a new warning on Wednesday, following a televised Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in which senators questioned Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
Horowitz this week released a report finding that the FBI exhibited no political bias in its decision to open a 2016 investigation into the Trump presidential campaign’s Russia ties. But when Trump himself commented on the report, he appeared to have a completely opposite view of what Horowitz said, according to an NBC News report.
Far from Horowitz’s finding of no political bias, Trump claimed that the report proved that the FBI was engaged in an “attempted overthrow” of the U.S. government. The report’s findings were “far worse than I ever thought possible,” Trump said, as quoted by NBC News.
But the Trump and other Republican responses to the IG report are “textbook” examples of “gaslighting,” wrote the group, Duty To Warn, on its official Twitter account.
According to a report by Psychology Today, “gaslighting” — a term that derives from the 1944 Hollywood thriller, Gaslight — is a tactic that “makes a victim question their reality.”
The technique is commonly, and effectively, used by “abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders,” the Psychology Today report says.
According to the Duty To Warn Twitter thread, abusers who use the gaslighting technique on their victims “say that something happened which didn’t, and then they deny having said that.”
Last year, in speaking to a veteran’s group, Trump told his supporters, “what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” and that they should believe only what he tells them.
Though Trump’s message to his supporters that they should not believe anything they actually see with their own eyes appears to make no sense, according to the Duty To Warn statements, Trump’s supporters are “intrinsically susceptible” to gaslighting due to their “anger, prejudice, and disenfranchisement.”
In fact, the mental health group warns in the thread, “without gaslighting Trump cannot win.” But such a “severe level” of gaslighting already exists in “the Trumpian world we live in” that it may be too late to do anything about it.
“It’s already morphed into Malignant Normality,” the Duty To Warn group writes, referring to a condition first identified by psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, in which societies come to accept harmful or toxic behavior as “normal.”