Step one: Confront the Mexican president over immigration and paying for his wall, finally looking "presidential" on an international trip in the process.
Step two: Fly back to Phoenix, Arizona to deliver a long-awaited immigration policy speech that appealed to party faithful and swing voters alike.
He could then waltz into September as candidate reborn, with his party united and the media propping him up in a comeback narrative.
That's not what happened.
Instead, he appeared glum and exhausted reading a few flowery words from a sheet of paper
while standing next to President Peña Nieto. It was enough for some in the media to laughably proclaim him "presidential", but the praise only lasted a few minutes before Donald predictably kicked off an international Twitter incident:
"We did discuss the wall; we didn't discuss payment of the wall," Trump told reporters at a press conference alongside Peña Nieto after their meeting in Mexico on Wednesday. "That will be for a later date."Ahh, so either Donald lied...or he folded like a $5 lawn chair from Wal-Mart. I'm guessing this embarrassment isn't near over.
But Peña Nieto later tweeted "At the start of my conversation with Donald Trump I made clear that Mexico will not pay for a wall."
"I repeat what I told him personally, Mr. Trump: Mexico will never pay for a wall," Peña Nieto said in Spanish in a post on his official Twitter account, responding to a tweet earlier Thursday from Trump saying "Mexico will pay for the wall."After that epic choke, Trump returned to the states to set ablaze "The Softening" in a red-faced, screaming, fascist hate speech that shocked and repelled journalists, pundits and even his own Latino supporters:
Listen to this hopped up maniac, my fellow journalists. What is wrong with you? Check your souls.— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) September 1, 2016
I believe he's a bigot, peddles in racism, feeds anger. His farcical "policy" speech last night confirmed it...again https://t.co/hI01G5Mbsx— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) September 1, 2016
In human terms, Trump's immigration speech was pure horror. But beyond that, it was also a massive tactical error that further increased the possibility that 2016 will be the biggest Democratic landslide since 1964.After Trump's immigration speech, his Latino supporters run the other way https://t.co/7TDPVniNGH— Leslie Sanchez (@LeslieSanchez) September 1, 2016
Donald Trump didn't turn the page. Instead, he turned just about everyone outside his angry white base against him while simultaneously kicking his reputation as international laughingstock up a notch. With abysmal Latino support and essentially zero African American support, this is an unmistakable recipe for Republican disaster as we enter the post-Labor Day homestretch.
The stakes are obvious but the pathway to a resounding victory is clear. Plus, we're the good guys who represent a kinder and more inclusive future.
So it's time to fight like hell to maximize this incredible opportunity.
Let's make clear to our family, friends and neighbors that Donald Trump isn't so much a candidate as a walking national emergency. That he's nothing short of a hateful, dangerous bigot who is completely unqualified to be President of the United States. Because it's true.
Let's tie the Trump anchor around the feet of every GOP candidate who won't completely disavow the unacceptable man at the top of their ticket. No escape.
Let's donate like never before to the Hillary Victory Fund to help Clinton and Democrats up and down the ballot win everywhere. Simply getting Hillary to 270 isn't enough...we need the Senate and House to really get things done for the American people.
Let's destroy the vile "Southern Strategy" for good and reduce the GOP to a regional party that struggles to regain its soul for decades to come. Because they deserve nothing less.
Let's have absolutely no complacency and no letup until the final votes are cast. If that happens, we'll have no regrets on November 9th and every day afterward.
In other words, let's try for an electoral map that looks something like this...
...because why not?