Ordinarily, when Donald Trump says something unexpected, he’s managed to insult some new group of Americans. Last night in North Carolina, however, the Republican presidential hopeful surprised by doing largely the opposite: as NBC News’ report noted, Trump “expressed regret and admitted wrong doing – though it’s unclear exactly for what.”
“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,” Trump said. “I have done that. And believe it or not, I regret it. And 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.”
Trump, who’s been repeatedly caught making demonstrably false statements, added that he can sometimes be “too honest.”
The candidate’s comments were scripted in advance and read from a teleprompter.
All of this, to be sure, was unexpected. Especially in light of this week’s campaign staff shake-up, Trump seemed likely to be even more combative and inflammatory, insisting this week he doesn’t want to change or “pivot.”
With this in mind, was last night’s apparent contrition evidence of a candidate ready to shift to a general-election mode? I’d recommend caution before buying into the overly convenient narrative.
Trump now believes he has, on occasion, said “the wrong thing,” and “caused personal pain,” which he “regrets.” And while that may seem like a welcome sentiment, his lack of specificity matters.
Which of his many insults does the GOP nominee how regret? The racist rhetoric? The criticisms of veterans and their families? His derogatory remarks about women? His mockery of a journalist with a physical disability?
The list keeps going. And going. And going.
Trump’s latest comments lead to an obvious question that deserves an answer: in his opinion, when exactly has the Republican presidential hopeful said “the wrong thing”?