Three and a half months after sealing the Republican nomination, Donald Trump pivoted to contest the general election on Thursday night, expressing regret for his past failures to “choose the right words” and delivering one of the most comprehensive, on-message rationales for his candidacy to date.
Speaking from prepared remarks on the heels of another staffing shakeup, Trump positioned himself as the champion of voiceless Americans against a corrupt and incompetent elite and the leader of an inclusive movement who repeatedly condemned “bigotry.”
His address, delivered at a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, presented the sort of message Republican leaders have been waiting months to hear. But with 82 days left until the election and early voting only weeks away, even a flawless sprint to the finish line may be too little too late for Trump to salvage his flailing campaign.
Early in his remarks, the New York businessman nodded at the months he has squandered, acknowledging that his own mouth had hindered his candidacy. “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 to laughter and cheers from his supporters.
“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 is for us to be consumed by these issues, but one thing I can promise you is this. I will always tell you the truth,” said Trump, who did not specify which words he regrets saying.