During a Nov. 2 rally in Miami, Florida, Donald Trump singled out and taunted Katy Tur, an NBC News journalist covering his campaign. His reason? Trump claimed that Tur and other news media representatives are not truthfully reporting on the size of crowds at his rallies, earlier in his speech remarking that journalists are "among the most dishonest people [he has] ever met."
Despite being bullied by Trump in front of 4,000 people that day, that night, Tur responded on MSNBC by hitting the presidential nominee with a list of facts refuting his claims that media outlets in attendance "won't spin the cameras and show the kind of massive crowds" his rallies draw.
Besides being poised and armed with facts, Tur's response to Trump reveals his comments for what they really are: gaslighting. Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which an abuser spins information to make a victim question their perception of reality and doubt their sanity. When it comes to Trump's comments to Tur, he specifically attempts to gaslight not just Tur, but everyone watching coverage of his campaign, by presenting lies as facts as he has done so many times in the past.
But when Tur responded to Trump's taunting while speaking to MSNBC's Brian Williams, she was having none of it, calling his claims that television networks purposely do not depict his crowds "an idea that he has" that is "just factually untrue." She goes on to cite Trump's past private conversations with journalists, his experience working on television, and his campaign's own rules for penning in network cameras as evidence refuting his complaints of media bias.
This is not the first time Trump has railed against "the media's" alleged bias against him. It is not even the first time he has publicly bullied Tur, having called her "naive" back in July and a "third-rate journalist" during a rally in December 2015. Trump has also displayed his penchant for gaslighting in the past. During an August rally in Virginia, Trump reassured a mother with a crying baby that it was OK for her to stay at the event and then, immediately after, kicked her and her baby out. During the presidential debates, Trump claimed he never supported the Iraq War or called pregnancy "an inconvenience for a business," despite there being audio and video evidence of saying exactly those things.
Media outlets have been reporting Trump's lies almost since his campaign for president started. What makes Tur's response to his bullying at the Miami rally so great, however, is how systematically and fearlessly she calls out Trump for being wrong. Crediting her having "the hide of a rhinoceros" for helping keep her unfazed, Tur became a role model for targets of gaslighting and bullying everywhere by responding to Trump's complaints with straightforward facts and treating his lies and delusions as exactly what they are: lies and delusions. After the rally, journalists and other public figures came out in full force on TV and Twitter to show support for Tur, many using the hashtag #ImWithTur:
Being a public figure, Tur has a much bigger platform to respond to and receive support against gaslighting than the average person. Nevertheless, the next time you find yourself being psychologically or emotionally manipulated by someone, watch Tur's response to Trump for a bit of inspiration and empowerment.