Is Donald Trump a Democratic plant?
Some top Republicans are starting to think so.
"Look, I don't know what his intent is, but he's infuriating Hispanics, the very group of voters the GOP is looking to make gains with in 2016," said one party official who asked not to be named. "You could just be an egomaniac running his mouth, but he's starting to look like a guy hand-delivered by the Democrats."
Since the 1980s, Trump has contributed $490,000 to Republicans, according to OpenSecrets.org. But he's donated at least $330,000 to Democrats -- including Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid and Anthony Wiener, the husband of Hillary's top aide, Huma Abedin.
The tycoon last showed up in 2012 to talk about President Obama's birth certificate, garnering plenty of coverage by the mainstream media news outlets (In one May 2012 interview on CNN, Wolf Blitzer said to him: "Donald, you're beginning to sound a little ridiculous, I have to tell you.").
Republicans had long moved past the questions that swirled around Obama's birth. But the issue was brought back to the fore by Trump -- and Mitt Romney was then asked repeatedly about the "Republican" stance that the party didn't believe Obama was born in America.
Now, Trump has declared his candidacy for the presidency (although in his announcement speech, in which he said "I" 195 times, he didn't once declare he was running for the Republican nomination).
Trump has once again drawn MSM coverage for his comments on illegal immigration from Mexico, and on Monday he double down, declaring that "infectious disease is pouring across the border." He also ranted about the random murder of a woman in San Francisco by an illegal alien who had been deported five times.
If that wasn't bad enough, he retweeted an comment about Jeb Bush's wife, Columba, A mexican who came to America legally: "@RobHeilbron: @realDonaldTrump #JebBush has to like the Mexican Illegals because of his wife."
At his launch event, Trump said Mexico is "sending people that have lots of problems ... They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
While some hardcore conservatives are singing Trump's praises, calling him brave for telling the truth, Republican leaders are starting to worry. Another Republican official on one of the GOP candidates' campaign said Trump can single-hendedly hurt the party.
"The media is always quick to point out that Trump is a Republican -- or says he is -- so people who hear him talking think the GOP hates Mexico, and therefor Hispanics. I wouldn't say it's deadly, but it's certainly not good, is it?"
Still, there is a view that Trump is speaking to the masses who object to illegal immigration, and his remarks will force candidates to take tough positions on the border. "The first point to make is that Trump is resonating with a lot of people," Mark Krikorian, executive director for the Center for Immigration Studies, told The Hill.
"It's not just Republicans, but a lot of ordinary Americans," he said. "It's precisely because regular politicians aren't addressing the issues they are concerned about."
And while Trump may be hurting the GOP, he is helping himself. He came in second place in two recent national polls of the 2016 Republican field, and is rising fast of New Hampshire.