On Tuesday night right here on planet Earth, former Trump White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said these words:
“When President Trump was president, you didn’t see crisis after crisis. You just didn’t see it.”
Yes. She really said that. With a straight face. (And yes, of course, she was on Fox News with Jesse Watters.)
The crisis-free administration that McEnany is envisioning included (among other things):
* Donald Trump being impeached by the House for an attempted quid pro quo with Ukraine
* Donald Trump being impeached by the House for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot – an insurrection that left more than 100 police officers injured and five people dead
* The Covid-19 pandemic ravaging across the United States
* 37 people and entities being charged with crimes as part of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Seven people were sentenced to prison.
That’s just the greatest hits, er, misses. The four years Trump spent as president were defined by chaos and crises; he seemed to attract them like moths to a flame.
What McEnany is doing here is classic gaslighting. She is trying to make you believe that the way you remember the last four years is wrong. That things were pretty darn great – and crisis-free! – under Trump.
McEnany is far from alone in trying to rewrite Trump’s history. The former President’s allies have taken to trying to memory hole all sorts of the ugliest elements of his term – focusing most of their energy on January 6. (House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has played a major role in trying to reframe Trump’s role on that fateful day.)
The Point: McEnany’s comment is no accident. It’s part of a concerted effort to gaslight America about what the last four years were really like.