Walker turned to Donald Trump – the 2016 candidate whose political fortunes have risen as Walker’s have cratered – and delivered his carefully prepared zing payload. “We don’t need an apprentice in the White House,” Walker said, “we have one right now.”
It was a reference to Donald Trump’s former show, “The Apprentice,” but Walker seemed to be under the impression that the “apprentice” referenced in the show’s title was Trump. That’s not how the show worked; Donald Trump was not “The Apprentice.” The joke made no sense. A few people in the audience laughed, probably because they’re idiots who laugh at anything. Jeb Bush, standing between Walker and Trump, paused for a moment to work out what Walker was getting at, then offered a sympathetic nod and closed-lip “good job, good effort” smile. The canned line had flopped, and Trump remained wholly un-zung.