There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Trump’s supposed apology last night at a rally in Charlotte, leading to speculation that the the new crowd running his campaign has convinced him to make a pivot to a gentler, kinder Trump. But if you pay close attention to how the speech actually went, it’s hard to see how that’s the case.
“Sometimes in the heat of debate, and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t chose the right words, or you say the wrong thing. I have done that,” Trump said, as the audience cheered and he grinned. “And believe it or not, I regret it!”
The crowd then cheered even more, he gave them a thumb-up, and they began chanting, “Trump! Trump! Trump!”
The line “believe it or not” is likely improvised from a speech that otherwise came over the teleprompter, since it’s really not the sort of thing a speechwriter would write. What we see here is an obvious lack of sincerity. There was even a sort of joy, on the part of both Trump and his supporters, that he was saying it and didn’t mean it.
So how long did this shift in tone last? Only until the next morning, when he got his phone back and could go on Twitter again:
The speech reveals why Trump will never pivot. His audiences truly love it when he says offensive things and lobs insults at people. They aren’t coming to his rallies for apologies, and the one thing he has demonstrated is that he knows how to give them what they do want.