Trump apologizes for being too truthful in his statements about Mexicans, Muslims, the Khan family and … me [with update!]
CHARLOTTE — Donald Trump on Thursday expressed regret over causing “personal pain” through ill-chosen words he has used “in the heat of debate,” an unexpected and uncharacteristic declaration of remorse for a candidate whose public persona is defined by his combative and bombastic style.
Speaking during his first campaign rally since rebooting his campaign, the Republican presidential nominee sought to frame himself as a truth-telling candidate who occasionally crosses boundaries in that pursuit. He also sought to contrast himself with his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, whom he accused of dishonesty and pandering.
“Sometimes in the heat of debate, and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that,” Trump said, with a slight smile, during a campaign rally here.
“And believe it or not, I regret it. I do regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues,” he said. “But one thing; I can promise you this: I will always tell you the truth.”
The speech marked a sharp departure for Trump, who has avoided apologizing or expressing regret in more than a year of campaigning, after a seemingly endless stream of feuds and controversies.
— Trump, speaking after campaign shake-up, expresses regret over causing ‘personal pain’, Jose A. DelReal, Robert Costa and Jenna Johnson, Washington Post, today
Okay, so Trump said he told the truth when he said, for example, that Mexicans streaming across the border are rapists, murders and other types of criminals. (None of them routinely commit white-collar crimes such as bank fraud, commercial fraud and tax fraud, but we’ll put that aside here. Trump hasn’t accused them of that, although he knows firsthand how this could be accomplished, but ….)
And he said he told the truth when he said Muslims are coming into this country by the thousands as agents of ISIS or in order at least to commit terrorist attacks in sympathy with ISIS.
Among other such truths he has revealed.
But now he apologizes for being too truthful about these things. He says he regrets having offended so many voters by being too truthful.
Much of the news media (those Post reporters excepted, obviously, but many others) is playing this as … an apology. And as big news, since after all Trump said he was apologizing for … something. He regrets … some things he said.
Which I can understand. If someone—Trump, say—said about me, “Beverly is really ugly, ignorant, stupid and dishonest, and I don’t know how she managed to avoid indictment for that bank robbery she committed a few years ago,” and then said he regretted offending me by being too honest, I would interpret that a heartfelt apology and as a retraction.
Proving the truth of the “ignorant” and “stupid” allegations. And maybe even the “ugly” one, too.
UPDATE: OMG! Trump’s new campaign manager says it’s presidential of Trump to reinforce his offensive fabrications of fact:
WHICH REMARKS DOES TRUMP REGRET? On ABC News, Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway tried to explain it:
“He was talking about anyone who feels offended by anything he said,” Conway elaborated today. “He took extra time yesterday going over that speech with a pen so that was a decision he made. Those are his words.”…
“Conway did not clarify whether Trump would apologize for specific comments or whether he would personally apology to the parents of Capt. Khan. ‘He may. But I certainly hope they heard him,’ she said. ‘I hope America heard him because of all the people, David, who have been saying, hey, let’s get Trump to pivot, let’s get him to be more presidential. That is presidential.’”
Never mind the specifics. If the Trump campaign says he’s pivoting and acting presidential, it must be true.
— Trump’s ugly and dishonest new TV ad shows he isn’t changing a thing, Greg Sargent, Washington Post, this morning
Actually, no, this isn’t a pivot. It’s reiterating the false claims—saying they’re true but that it was, well, impolitic of him to have told those truths.
Added 8/19 at 1:04 p.m.