Donald Trump is now a sorry presidential candidate in every sense of the word. He recently told a crowd in Charlotte, N.C. that, "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. 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 for us to be consumed with these issues."
Mr. Trump isn't very clear on exactly what he is sorry for. Perhaps, given the multitude of things he should be sorry for, his campaign felt it would be economically unfeasible to rent a venue for the amount of time it would take to mention them all. I guess we can look at this prime example of humbug humbling as a kind of general "Get Out of Jail Free" card in a world where disgustingly rich white guys never own up to being sorry for anything that gets too specific.
Trump was careful to interject a "believe it or not" into his Hallmark moment of self-deprecation. If you do believe it, you must be one of those people who think that there is nothing particularly interesting to be learned from his tax returns.
What Trump is really sorry for is that the wild and crazy approach that attracted so much frenzy from fans of reality TV during the primaries isn't working so well in the general election campaign. Even a political neophyte like Mr. Trump is capable of grasping the fact that, when a Democrat is ahead in the polls in the Peach State, the Republican candidate is in something of a pickle.
I think we place too much faith in poll numbers, although those of us hoping to avoid a Krakatowa-scale tragedy in November can at least take some comfort in the numbers at the moment. The prevailing question right now seems to be centered on the degree to which Mr. Trump will lose and, perhaps more significantly for the Republican Party in general, how much collateral damage will his defeat inflict?
I know that purportedly responsible, every hair impeccably in place members of the GOP have disavowed any connection with their floundering amateur. Most of them claim that he "isn't really a champion of Republican values" (and we all know what they really are). The problem with this mass disavowal is that it conveniently overlooks the fact that, in order to promote their notion of Republican values, they have been tirelessly pandering for decades to the same narrow-minded and embittered prejudices of the electorate that has spawned Trump. Rosemary finally gave birth to her baby and — big surprise — no one wants to claim paternity.
The wisp of hope bolstering the Trump debacle right now is that there are some terribly damaging revelations contained in a batch of Hillary Clinton's e-mails that have yet to be publicly disclosed. Mrs. Clinton has admitted that her use of an unsecured server while she served as secretary of state was an egregious mistake (which is more than W. ever said about Iraq).
The fact that the Russian government seems to be behind the hacking should, in itself, speak volumes as to Vladimir Putin's designs on influencing the elections. Mr. Putin, a former KGB intelligence thug, knows an easy mark when he spots one. It doesn't take a genius to know why he called Donald Trump one.
Even Mrs. Clinton's most dedicated admirers concede that she displayed a serious lack of judgment with the emails, but not even the most dedicated Trump enabler has managed to come up with evidence that any of them contained information that seriously compromised security in the United States. Contrast that fact with Mr. Trump's far too cozy rapport with the Kremlin. Imagine the tidal wave of patriotic fury emanating from the right wing if it was reported that Mrs. Clinton dared to admire a tie that Putin was wearing.
Before he became another casualty of the Trump train wreck, a man who has been politely described as a political mercenary managed the campaign. A very successful mercenary, it turns out. Paul Manafort's name appears a number of times on documents recovered by the Ukraine's National Anti-Corruption Bureau that suggest that he was paid $12.7 million in an ultimately futile effort to keep one of Mr. Putin's puppets in control of the country. Outrage from the right over the troubling collusion has been nonexistent. The FBI, however, is looking into Mr. Manafort's sleazy dealings with despots even as he severs his ties with one in the making.
Meanwhile, Mr. Trump has taken advantage of a great photo op to tour the flood damage in Louisiana, despite being asked to stay away. Drawing from a deep wellspring of sympathy for the less fortunate, he can identify with flood victims because low pressure once caused water problems for a day or so at the Trump Tower.
Alden Graves is a regular Banner columnist.