Donald Trump regrets some of the things he’s said over the course of the 2016 campaign. That is what CNN reports him having announced at a rally in North Carolina on Thursday. But in keeping with a classic Frank Sinatra tune about regrets – or a lack thereof – Trump failed to mention just what his specific regrets might be. In many ways, Trump’s mea culpa was one of the most unapologetic of apologies ever offered.
Hillary's response to Trump insincere apology pic.twitter.com/ZzmFitYs3B— Molly (@Plantflowes) August 19, 2016
As Trump himself said early in the week, he intends to remain who he is – as disturbing as that might be to many people. Even in this speech on Thursday, Trump suggested that he intended to continue “telling the truth.” Unfortunately for Trump, his “truth” doesn’t seem to gel with what the majority of Americans believe or want.
But what might Donald Trump’s unspoken regrets actually be? No doubt, Trump regrets the presence of cameras and microphones at every venue at which he appears. Trump must long for the halcyon days of the primary season when the narrow segment of the population he was speaking to in their mutual echo chamber accepted anything he said as just true and indisputable. Trump acknowledged this at the time by suggesting he could shoot someone in the street and still get votes.
In contrast to the primaries, the – more or less – accurate reporting during the general election of The Donald’s every threat or insinuating word is the bane of his existence. Not to mention an endless headache for his harassed and constantly changing campaign staff. With the rotating door at his campaign headquarters, perhaps Trump should consider a temp agency.
Trump also probably regrets the fact that even Fox News seems to have lost interest in trying to make him appealing to the average voter. Speaking of Fox, they might regret a few things themselves. Such as the fact that the extremist agenda they nurtured over the last few years on a steady diet of fear and hate has escaped and consumed the entire Republican Party without so much as a burp.
All purpose Trump apology: "I regret anything may have said that hurts me politically."— Bruce Bartlett (@BruceBartlett) August 19, 2016
Most of all, Trump regrets the things he has said that have offended people. He explicitly said this on Thursday. But it seems likely that the main reason Trump regrets saying offensive things is not that he has had a sudden crisis of conscience. No, it’s because saying these things has driven Trump’s poll numbers straight into the ground.
As Los Angeles Times notes, Trump is polling way down in the polls against Hillary Clinton in national polls and even lower in certain state polls. If the election were held right now, Trump would not only lose in a breathtaking landslide, he would drag a sizable percentage of elected Republicans down with him.
Things that Trump should regret – if his regrets were based on anything but self-interest – include his attack against the family of a fallen soldier, his implication that a judge of Hispanic descent was conspiring against him, his statements that all Muslims are suspect simply because of their faith, his – well, the list is actually almost endless.
In the entire history of the United States and its political system, there has never been a candidate quite like Donald Trump. Eugene McCarthy and Huey Long are the closest approximation to this current demagogue. Even more than the Know-Nothings of the 1850s century or the isolationists and bigots of the 1920s, Trump represents all the things that America is supposed to oppose.
Even worse, Trump has a sizable number of supporters throughout the country. If not, he could never have ripped the Republican nomination out of the hands of the shocked party leaders. The only comfort is that – once Trump made his way into the general election – all of the things that were advantages to him in the primaries doomed him for the November vote. Otherwise, we might all have something to regret.
[Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images]