Trump to China: "Listen, you motherf***ers, we’re going to tax you 25 percent"

Via Mediaite, which has excerpts from last night’s F-bomb cavalcade. One of our commenters in Headlines watched the clip and observed that Trump is basically a leftist caricature of Republicans brought to life. Precisely — but with the caveat that something like 20 percent of the GOP wants to embrace the caricature. (That number might already be slipping.) He knows he’s too compromised on conservative principles to get traction with the base so he overcompensates with tell-it-like-it-is populist bravado aimed at framing himself as the ultimate regular-guy outsider. Calling the Chinese MFers is the logical extension of that; if he can’t address economic anxieties with a serious policy solution, at least he can do it with rhetorical empowerment. That’s why Reagan, who did have a serious Cold War strategy, didn’t have to say “Tear down this motherf***ing wall” instead.

Just to follow up on the point about leftist caricature, though, I’m intrigued by this tidbit from his trip to New Hampshire:

Even as reporters assailed him with questions this week about the president’s birth certificate, Mr. Trump sought to dispel any notion that his candidacy is a public relations gimmick. He dangled the idea that reporters would be “surprised” by what he announces next month, soon after his NBC television show ends for the season on May 22.

“When the show is over, I will be free to announce,” he said. “I think you will be surprised at a number of things, but I think you will be surprised at what my announcement is.”

He’s not dumb, so he surely realizes by now that he has no shot at winning. As much as voters may enjoy this sort of “f*** the world” pandering on the stump, they’re not going to entrust the nuclear arsenal to a guy prone to rhetoric like this. Remember how Howard Dean, another man of righteous rage, was ahead in the polls until the primaries began and he suddenly realized that he was a bit too “much” for most Democrats? Trump will experience that too. So he’s almost certainly not going to run, in which case, what will the “surprising” announcement be? If he walked out and admitted that this has all been a goof aimed at seeing just how far he could get in the GOP polls using lowest-common-denominator populist rhetoric, it’d be one of the great pranks of all time. Liberals would go from loathing him to building statues of him in an instant. I know he’s not going to say that — realistically, he’ll give some excuse about being “better able to influence the process on the outside” or whatever — but still. It’d be epic. Content warning for what follows, if you please.