The 11-minute video above is, literally, astounding.
It's Donald Trump at a campaign rally in late May in San Diego (why was he in California in late May, you ask? Who knows!) spending 11 minutes going into the nitty-gritty details of the legal case against Trump University. The speech -- and that is a very loose term for what Trump is doing -- has become famous because it served as the genesis of the real estate mogul's attack on Judge Gonzalo Curiel's Mexican heritage. (Trump says early in the 11 minute speech that Curiel should "recuse" himself because he was appointed by President Obama; he also notes that Curiel "happens to be Mexican.")
What is missed with the focus on Trump's relatively brief comments about Curiel is the broader context here. Trump is, in essence, airing the details of a civil case as a way of public score-settling. He names names -- Curiel, yes, but also a magistrate, several Trump U. attendees who are suing him and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Trump begins by promising to "talk about it for two minutes" but, obviously, goes way beyond his self-imposed time limit. And, his words and actions make clear how personally he takes all of this. Twice Trump says that he is "being railroaded." He yells, repeatedly. He waves a series of papers around.
What's amazing is that even as Trump is gesticulating wildly and speaking as passionately as you will ever see him, the crowd is, often, totally silent. It's a remarkable contrast. But it's not terribly surprising. Trump is talking about the merger of law firms. He's talking about summary judgments. He's talking about the minutiae of a lawsuit that I guarantee you most people in the audience have never heard of before.
The video tells the story of a man who seems entirely unaware that in the midst of a rant aimed at getting back at those who he believes have wronged him, he totally loses the crowd he is trying to appeal to. Settling a personal grievance trumps -- ahem -- good politics.
If you are a Republican with worries about Trump's ability to pivot to a more considered, serious candidate, this video should send a chill down your spine. Yes, I know Trump showed some of the gravitas the GOP establishment had hoped to see during his speech on Tuesday night. But, this video isn't from six months ago. It's from a few weeks ago -- and seems to reflect the same Trump who smashed his way to the GOP nod.
This Trump -- petty and tone-deaf to his audience -- can't win in the fall. Republicans have to hope this Trump never reappears.