North Carolina-Donald Trump made a rare act of contrition this week. He did speak with a teleprompter and veered from the invisible screens, saying he regretted offending people with his harsh way of speaking.
Some of his supporters, who attended the North Carolina rally where the Republican presidential candidate made his speech, had different views.
“I loved the tone,” said Annette Fitch, 55, a customer service representative who was at the speech.
High school principal Hans Peter Plotseneder, said he regretted the candidate had lost “a little bit of personal touch.”
“I hope he doesn’t get too PC,” said the 71-year-old.
On Wednesday, Trump appointed right-wing news executive Stephen Bannon as campaign CEO and promoted pollster Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager.
The change was seen as a demotion for campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who had been pushing Trump, among other changes, to use a teleprompter when he gives speeches as a way to stay on message — and not ad-lib himself into saying something offensive or wrong.
Manafort resigned on Friday.
Trump said in a statement he had accepted Manafort’s resignation but did not offer an explanation for the departure.
“I’ve been studying presidential rhetoric for 40 plus years now and I cannot recall an instance in any campaign or any presidency where people have used language the way Donald Trump is using language,” Martin Medhurst, a Baylor University professor of communication and political science, told Agence France Presse.
“His language is very colorful, it’s easy to listen to him,” Medhurst said. “It’s easy to sort of get into the moment because it’s sort of like a show.”
Yet Trump surprised observers by admitting that he regretted offending people.
“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 told the rally in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“I have done that. And believe it or not, I regret it,” he said, drawing laughs and applause from the crowd. “I do regret it. Particularly, where it may have caused personal pain.”
He added: “Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues, but one thing, I can promise you this, I will always tell you the truth.”
And he began his speech with a message to the people of Louisiana, a state that has been hit with historic flooding in recent days.
“We are one country, one people, and we will have together one great future,” Trump told the crowd.
He still stressed his standard campaign pillars of building a wall along the border with Mexico, keeping out undocumented foreigners and opposing international trade accords.
And he also depicted himself as an agent of change compared to his rival Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, whom he dismissed as an old-fashioned Washington insider, while promising to strengthen U.S. ethics rules to fight influence peddling.