Impossible Writing Challenge: Trump’s Apology
Recently I’ve been thinking about giving myself “Impossible Writing Assignments.” The equivalent of a Houdini escape. Here’s a handcuff, write your way out of it. For this one, I tried to write a convincing apology for Donald Trump.
I was struck by something Alan Alda said on WTF with Marc Maron about playing a deplorable character. He rejects Maron’s suggestion that you have to “find the monster inside you” and says, instead, “He may come out as a monster, but you don’t go looking for a monster. You find out why he’s right. Not only do you have to know what he wants, you have to know that he deserves to get what he wants.”
What Alda is describing is true empathy—one of the fundamental requirements of any good writer. So that’s where I started with this piece, as best I could. What follows may be out of character for the real Donald Trump, but I wanted to write something that I think he should deliver, that might make people see him as someone they can empathize with.
My name is Donald Trump, and as most of you know, for the past year I’ve been asking you to support me for President of the United States.
I’m running because I truly believe that we are on the wrong course as a country. We need a drastic change in direction to make America great again. Make America great again for everybody, no matter their background, race, creed, economic standing or political affiliation. That is not just a cynical slogan—that is what I truly believe.
Two days ago, a tape surfaced of me saying things I should not have said. Things I should not even have thought. Things that do not reflect me or my beliefs.
I said things I am ashamed of. And I bear the sole responsibility of these statements. I alone. They should not reflect on my party. They should not reflect on my staff, the good people who are working so hard, day and night because they also want to make America great. But mostly, they should not reflect on my family. Please, do not judge my family by my reprehensible words.
And for those of you coming to my defense, saying that those were things I said ten years ago, or that it was off-record, or just “locker room talk.” Or that all men talk like that in private. Please don’t. I appreciate your support, but please do not defend what I said. I can’t and I won’t defend it. I won’t try to deflect it. The criticism is warranted.
What I said was abhorrent. It degraded and disrespected women. And my greatest fear is not the damage my words will do to my campaign; my greatest fear is that a young man will hear those words and think that that kind of behavior is legitimate and acceptable. Or that a young woman will hear those words and think that’s how men think, will find it a reason to question their fathers, brothers, husbands and sons.
What I said is morally repugnant. What I suggested is illegal. No one should ever even think such things, much less voice them.
So I stand before you and ask your forgiveness. I realize it will be hard. After all, I’m now a politician, whether I like that label or not. What I say will always be viewed by many through the lens of politics. But I ask you as a man, as a fellow human, as a fallible creature, I ask your forgiveness.
I realize I have lost many of you with my words. I sincerely ask an act of charity from you—I ask that in the coming weeks, you allow me to try to earn you back. To prove to you that those words I spoke ten years ago do not represent who I am today or who I would be in the future, as President or not. They certainly do not represent my vision for a better, greater America.
Thank you for your time. God Bless America.