Donald Trump’s boasts about groping women has been strongly denounced by Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, and many other congressional Republicans. But 10 hours after the recording was released, Trump’s brief statement in response was defiant and distinctly unapologetic. He said:
“I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not. I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more-than-a-decade-old video are one of them. Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.”
He then said the recorded comments were nothing more than “a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today,” and that Bill and Hillary Clinton were guilty of worse.
“I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims.”
Trump has been accused of sexual assault by many women.
The brief video message showed few signs of deep regret, and there was disbelief that such a brief message took so many hours of briefings. “That took 10 hours?” Republican strategist Kevin Madden said on CNN following the statement, reports the New York Times.
Advisors warned Trump that he needed to address the issue, reports the Times, but said a press conference on the subject had the potential to get out of control.
Though the apology was hardly gracious, it was the first time Trump has explicitly apologized for any statement or behavior. He has previously expressed “regret” for some of his remarks (he did not specify which), but this is the first time he’s publicly said the words: “I apologize.” Too bad it didn’t sound like he meant it.