Please note the following column was translated from Spanish to English and is available in Spanish here.
This past Thursday the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, said “believe it or not, I regret” some of the things he said at the height of the campaign. For his spokespeople and followers, this apparently constituted an “apology” and a “dramatic” shift in the incendiary style of the Republican nominee.
However, his robotic declaration in no way constituted an apology, and it simply begs the question what specifically Trump “regrets” because his list of offenses is immense. Calling Mexicans as well as other immigrants rapists and criminals; saying that Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over the case about alleged fraud at Trump University, cannot be an impartial jurist because he is “Mexican,” even though he was born in Indiana; insulting women; making fun of disabled people; insulting veterans like Republican Senator John McCain, who Trump said he did not consider to be a hero because he was captured; attacking the parents of a fallen soldier, Hamayun Khan, and the entire Muslim community; saying that defenders of the Second Amendment of the Constitution, by possessing and wielding arms, could do “something” to stop Hillary Clinton (if elected) from attacking this amendment and appointing Justices to the Supreme Court; claiming that President Barack Obama founded the terrorist organization ISIS (and Clinton co-founded it); treating the press like a third world dictator would and calling out reporters at his violence and racism-fueled rallies; spreading conspiracy theories – let us not forget that he was one of the proponents of the idea that Obama was not born in the United States. The list of insults goes on and on but can be summarized like this: exaggerating, lying, inciting violence, and exploiting prejudice.
Trump’s first campaign ad of the general election presented his dark vision of immigrants and refugees. All of these human beings are criminals in the eyes of Donald Trump, and Trump lies by saying that undocumented immigrants are obtaining Social Security benefits. The ad concludes without mention of the millions of dollars that immigrants contribute to the social security safety net, even though their immigration status impedes them from enjoying its benefits.
At campaign events in North Carolina and Michigan, Trump ‘appealed’ to African-American voters, in front of predominantly white audiences, saying they should vote for him, because the Democrats have treated them so badly that they don’t have anything to lose. What a fabulous strategy to attract voters.
At the last minute, like the second half of the ninth inning in a baseball game, Trump assembles a National Hispanic Advisory Council to put together strategies that would ‘allow’ Trump to attract the same Latino voters he has repeatedly insulted over the past year plus. Curiously, among the 23 people from 12 states that make up this group, there are people from Texas, a Republican stronghold, where it seems Trump is worried that Latinos may reject him. Two other states represented in Trump’s council are Florida and Colorado, where the Latino vote is crucial and does not favor the Republican candidate.
Following the council’s meeting, the headlines suggested that Donald Trump had softened his stance toward undocumented immigrants, despite his campaign’s insistence that Trump didn’t say anything that he has not said in the past. Trump’s campaign did contend that there are things that have yet “to be determined,” such as the “deportation force” that Trump had promised would remove 11 million undocumented immigrants from the country.
And just like those who think they are always right, Trump didn’t ask for forgiveness for anything.
Trump is who he is and how he is. He has already shown us what he is made of: he is arrogant, prejudiced, classist, sexist, and incapable of showing empathy for anyone about anything. He is an unscrupulous, erratic and dangerous individual who is unfit for the presidency, but is now just one step away from obtaining it.
Attempts to make him appear moderate, apologetic, or presidential do not matter, because the problem is not Trump’s tone. It is his essence.
As the twig is bent, so the tree grows.
Maribel Hastings is Senior Advisor for America’s Voice.