Friday mornings are a lousy time to dip into metaphysical questions about subtle distinctions in meaning between words we take for granted. But sometimes, we are left with no choice.

Donald Trump's delegate wrangler (and sort-of campaign manager?) Paul Manafort bopped down to Florida on Thursday as part of the campaign's effort to assure party leaders that 1) Trump will beat Hillary Clinton in November and 2) that the party should therefore tell Ted Cruz and John Kasich to take a hike.

Both tricky goals. Which is perhaps why Manafort offered a rather unusual way of making the first point, as The Post reported.

Manafort argued that Clinton’s negative favorability ratings are caused by “character” issues, whereas Trump’s are fueled by “personality” concerns.
“Fixing personality negatives is a lot easier than fixing character negatives,” Manafort said. “You can’t change somebody’s character, but you can change the way a person presents himself.”

So let's parse. Apparently a "personality" negative is being brash and loud and so on. A "character" negative, then, is something ... innate? Manafort is saying, we guess, that Trump is a good person who acts like a jerk, but Clinton is a not-good person.

That's hard to evaluate empirically, in part because these are subjective terms. But we can assess how voters feel about these traits to some extent.

For example, in the March Post/ABC national poll, far more people viewed Hillary Clinton as untrustworthy than trustworthy. They were also about split on whether or not she "understands the problems of people like me." Americans, then, don't appear to be viewing her character too positively.

But there's one catch: They view Trump's character even worse.

We also asked about who has the right experience to be president, which falls into neither the personality nor character bucket. Oh, and we asked specifically about personality. On every measure, Clinton was viewed more positively. The only place Trump's number were even close to hers was on honesty, but his net numbers were still twice as bad as hers.

Put more simply: People don't like Trump's personality, but they also don't have a lot of confidence in his character.

Why? Let's look at how the numbers on honesty have changed since September -- both overall and by party identification.

See what's happening? Trump does worse because Republicans now view him as much less trustworthy than they used to. Clinton's numbers are higher because Democrats like her more.

Trump's been buffeted by a tough race in which a big chunk of his party is actively trying to block his path to the nomination. The big question before November, tacitly acknowledged by Manafort, is whether or not those Republicans will come back into the fold. In 2008, antipathy to Sarah Palin apparently cost the GOP ticket millions of votes. Trump wants to show that this won't happen to him.

Notice, though, that Republicans have turned against Trump as he's been trying to court their votes. Manafort's argument is that Trump has been displaying this unpopular personality simply to win over Republicans. But Republicans aren't being won over, beyond Trump's existing core base of support.

If the argument is that Trump can turn it on and off like a tap, that's probably true. The problem is that he keeps scalding people, and he doesn't seem to know it.

What Donald Trump is doing on the campaign trail

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at Trump Doral golf course in Miami, Florida, U.S. July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)