Republicans Defending Donald Trump Are Like The Cheating Boyfriend Who Gaslights You

On Tuesday, in a speech at a North Carolina rally, Donald Trump suggested Second Amendment supporters should take action against Hillary Clinton — specifically seeming to imply assassination — if Clinton chose to nominate judges they didn't like. Immediately following, he, and many other Republicans said he didn't say what he just said. However, the fact is, Trump made his insinuation abundantly clear. Read it for yourself below:

Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know ...

Here's what this all boils down to: the Republican versions of "Gas Lighting." It's a term used to describe when someone convinces you that they're not doing what they're doing and that you're the crazy one for thinking they are. You may have been a victim of it. I know I have: one time I had a boyfriend who was constantly cheating on me — emails with other women saying he wished he was with them instead of me, staying in contact with his ex-friends-with-benefits for no real reason other than to play with fire, and one time he even accidentally opened an inappropriate text from another woman in front of me and his brother (I had witnesses!). But, he insisted what was happening was all in my head. So I stayed with him. For four years.

I'm horribly embarrassed about it now; I consider myself a strong, smart, conscious human being who isn't easily manipulated. But even so, at the time, I convinced myself that there was some validity to his explanations. Now, those all-too-familiar feelings are resurfacing as Republicans are grasping for straws to defend Trump's unconscionable comments alluding to the assassination of Clinton.

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The mental gymnastics some Republicans are performing are truly breathtaking. In one of the purest examples of gas lighting, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said the comments couldn't possibly have anything to do with violence and "there can be no other interpretation. I mean, give me a break." Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence tried to say the violent rhetoric is some sort of reverse-code for following your heart noting, "Donald Trump is urging people around this country to act consistent with their convictions in the course of this election." Gas lighter and Trump Spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said everyone else is out of step in this parade and Trump's comments are simply about getting out the vote: "There are a lot of Americans in this country who support the Second Amendment ... this is very important in November, if you care about your Second Amendment rights, to get out there and vote." Rep. Duncan Hunter defended Trump, implying he didn't mean it like that: "He's a business person who’s running for president ... because I don't think that's what he meant. And I think he can be inarticulate at times."

Luckily, the Secret Service is like our calm, collected, level-headed, non-partisan friend who can reliably call a spade a spade and save us from ourselves. In response to Trump's Second Amendment comments, the agency tweeted this:

Republicans: Donald Trump said what he said, so just say it.

Image: Bustle/Caroline Wurtzel