Donald Trump Says He Regrets Words That 'May Have Caused Personal Pain'
In a highly uncharacteristic move Thursday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump expressed "regret" for some of the things he has said on the campaign trail, especially when they "may have caused personal pain."
"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 during a speech in Charlotte, North Carolina, Thursday night where he read from a teleprompter.
"I have done that, and believe it or not I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues. But one thing I can promise you, [is] this, I will always tell you the truth" he added.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump's new campaign manager, told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Friday that the apology was crafted by the billionaire himself.
"He took extra time yesterday going over that speech with a pen," Conway said. "... Those are his words."
On various occasions, Trump has offended Mexicans, women, a federal judge, parents of a slain U.S. soldier, fellow Republicans and others. On Thursday night, however, he did not specifically highlight anyone he might have offended.
Conway told "Good Morning America" that Trump's tone on Thursday night shows that he is "presidential."
"I certainly hope America heard him last night," Conway said. "Because of all the people … who have been saying, 'Hey, let's get Trump to pivot, let's get him to be more presidential' — that is presidential."
The speech came just hours before Trump traveled to Louisiana Friday morning to assess the damage caused by flooding which has left thousands homeless and 13 people dead in its wake.
A USA Today report says Trump and running mate Mike Pence were headed to Baton Rouge, but noted that his campaign said little about what he would do there.
A statement from the office of Gov. John Bel Edwards said the governor was not told about the visit but he hoped it would be more than a "photo-op."
"Donald Trump hasn't called the governor to inform him of his visit. We welcome him to LA, but not for a photo-op. Instead, we hope he'll consider volunteering or making a sizable donation to the LA Flood Relief Fund to help victims of this storm," said the statement.
Trump's visit to Louisiana comes after an editorial published by The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge, criticized President Barack Obama for not interrupting his vacation, which ends on Sunday, to pay a personal visit to flood victims.
"We've seen this story before in Louisiana, and we don't deserve a sequel. In 2005, a fly-over by a vacationing President George W. Bush became a symbol of official neglect for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The current president was among those making political hay out of Bush's aloofness," said the op-ed.
"Sometimes, presidential visits can get in the way of emergency response, doing more harm than good. But we don't see that as a factor now that flood waters are subsiding, even if at an agonizing pace. It's past time for the president to pay a personal visit, showing his solidarity with suffering Americans," it continued.
"The optics of Obama golfing while Louisiana residents languished in flood waters was striking. It evoked the precedent of the passive federal response to the state's agony in 2005, a chapter of history no one should ever repeat," it added.
The White House indicated in an Associated Press report however, that it is unlikely that President Obama will be cutting his vacation short to visit Louisiana and Gov. Edwards agreed.
Obama has been receiving regular updates and briefings on the situation throughout his vacation, including from Edwards said the White House. The president also approved a federal disaster declaration for affected areas of the state.
"As the president told Gov. Edwards over the weekend, the community of Baton Rouge has faced a difficult, even tragic, summer but can count on the ongoing prayers and unwavering support of the president and their fellow Americans in their time of need," White House spokeswoman Jennifer Friedman told the AP.
Edwards also noted that he'd prefer if Obama hold off on visiting because such stops pull local police and first responders into providing security which he would rather avoid right now.
"Quite frankly that is not something that I want to go through right now. And so while the president is welcome to visit, I would just as soon he give us another a week or two, get back to a greater sense of normalcy here," Edwards said.