Yes but also a bit of no.

I suppose it’s probably true that he thinks “the base will love this” with every insult, but I also think he does it because he likes it, and that that’s who he is. He’s a profoundly nasty man, one who lashes out in rage at anybody who annoys him, no matter how close or loyal. Nastiness aka cruelty is at the core of his being, and one of his favorite activities.

It does appeal to the base, though, and how depressing is that? A hefty fraction of the population is thrilled and amused and energized by deliberate hostile cruelty and bullying from a gilded real estate fraud who frauded his way into the presidency.

At any rate – I certainly agree with Walter Shaub that the ethics part is far from secondary. Trump is an actively bad human being, and that can’t possibly be secondary.

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