Donald Trump says the United States is too preoccupied with being politically correct. (Video: Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

Donald Trump was pushing the envelope, flirting with the rhetoric of fringe politics and saying things that would get most candidates voted off the campaign island on the first ballot long before he first set foot on the campaign trail.

He was an unapologetic birther. He made public remarks about his sexual exploits. He was once criticized for saying that the operators of Native American casinos "don’t look like Indians to me." But in all of those circumstances — in a pattern that followed him to the 2016 campaign — he remained unrepentant and unapologetic.

It's his style. And he sees no reason to change.

Trump's biggest justification for being blunt, raw and sometimes outright offensive is that it's too time-consuming to be "politically correct."

"To be politically correct just takes too much time," he said in a campaign ad released in January. But exactly what he means by that is a bit muddy.

What he seems to mean when he rails against political correctness is that squabbling over words — however offensive they might be — often obscures the real issue at hand. A reporter calls you out for using the term "anchor baby?" Fine, but the real problem is illegal immigration, not your choice of words. People are offended that you suggest banning an entire religion of people from entering the country? Again, fine — the real issue here is national security. Or, at least, that's Trump's argument.

But not all Republicans agree with him. The top-ranking congressional Republican, Rep. Paul Ryan, has spent most of the time since his June 2 endorsement outright criticizing Trump, and a whole list of others are steering clear of the Republican National Convention in a few weeks.

Trump's rhetoric certainly worked during the Republican primary season. The question is whether the general-election swing-state voters he needs share his views on the drawbacks of political correctness.