I use the scare quotes around “apology” on purpose because in point of fact, Trump did not apologize. He expressed “regret” if it “may have caused personal pain.” In other words, what Trump said was not even “sorry if you were offended,” it was “I have regret if you were offended.”
Whatever. Even if he had used the word “sorry” or actually apologized – not if people were offended, but because he did it – this “apology” would have fallen woefully short. Ben already touched on some of the reasons here. The main omission that I can see, however, is any acknowledgement that Trump has strenuously denied actually doing any of the things he needs to apologize for.
Throughout the primary in particular, Trump offered the most patently ridiculous justifications for his behavior time and time again. When he suggested that Megyn Kelly asked him tough questions because of her menstrual cycle, Trump and his supporters fervently denied that he did any such thing up until and presumably including yesterday. When everyone with a brain saw Trump very obviously mocking disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski, Trump and his supporters issued angry and ridiculous denials that he had done any such thing and demanding an apology for Trump.
It’s a pattern that has continued into the general election. When he said that Gonzalo Curiel could not give him a fair hearing because “he’s a Mexican” (something that is not even true), he denied suggesting that he was saying no Hispanics were fit to judge him fairly. When he joked about one of the “second amendment people” taking care of Hillary, he denied that he was making a joke about one of them shooting Hillary (even though the context of his remarks made it clear he was NOT talking about them exercising political power). And on and on.
Now as far as I know, Trump has never even acknowledged that he did any of the things he is now feeling “regret” over. I mean… is he now admitting that he implied Megyn Kelly attacked him because of her menstrual cycle? Is he admitting he mocked Serge Kovaleski’s disability? What, specifically, did Trump do that was “wrong,” as he now admits?
If Trump wants people to forgive him, as Kellyanne Conway is basically begging people to do this morning, then he needs to begin with admitting that he did all these things to start with. In particular. Acknowledge at least some specific errors so we know that you actually are willing to admit having committed them and are not just basically forcing the words past your teeth because you see no other path to becoming President.
Until then this particular apology tour is just as pathetic as Trump’s first ad buy.