Donald Trump is not a politician. Nor is he someone who offers measured political analysis. As a surrogate for the Mitt Romney campaign, he's been more of a sideshow than an actual advocate, primarily because the subtleties of campaigning are lost on him.
On Tuesday morning, that bluntness was on full display as Trump spent several minutes plainly questioning the political chops of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and declaring, with characteristic conviction, that the Ryan budget would be an abject disaster for Romney.
"It is catastrophic what he's done," Trump told CNBC. "If they lose, it will be the single biggest reason why the Republicans lost: the Ryan plan."
Trump said he took issue not with the content of the Ryan budget -- though he declined to weigh in on that -- but rather, the timing of its introduction.
"I think the worst thing [Romney] can do is strongly embrace that budget if he wants to get elected," he said. "This will be the single worst move in the Republican Party for many years. This is going to be catastrophic."
"Perhaps Paul Ryan is a bright guy but he is not a good chess player," he said later, "This gentleman is not a good chess player, that's all I can tell you."
As someone who still thinks President Barack Obama may have forged his birth certificate, Trump's own standing as a political chess player is obviously in question. It would be a remarkably risky move for Romney to deploy him at all on the trail, though the idea of Trump fundraising on the former Massachusetts governor's behalf isn't so far-fetched. (Already, Trump and his wife are slated to host a birthday fundraiser for Romney's wife, Ann, later this month.)
That said, it's not all that simple to dismiss Trump's fears about the political fallout from the Ryan plan. And it will be interesting to see whether Romney clarifies his position on the budget proposal that he recently called "marvelous."