Delivered Properly, A Public Apology Has An Uncanny Way of Reminding Us That ‘To Err’ Is Human… (Op-Ed)
But Donald Trump’s Fell Far Short of Humanity Sunday Night
“Indeed I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong … I misled people, including even my wife. I deeply regret that.” – President Bill Clinton
“I deeply apligize.” – Alec Baldwin in a recent SNL skit in which he bears an eerie resemblance to Donald Trump, perfectly mimicking his famous frowns, retorts and snorts.
By Thomas J. Madden, Chairman and CEO, Transmedia Group
When philandering husbands and lewd-talking braggarts get caught, they face angry wives, confused children and today disenchanted voters, so their apology better ring loud and true with contrition.
Donald Trump’s apology Sunday night had a false ring to it.
It’s almost as if he apologized with a gun to his head, forcing him to own up to his lewd talk over a decade ago about groping women who couldn’t resist his star status. Trump’s apology fell short of any chance of women voters forgiving him, let alone voting for him.
Trump might as well have apologized alone, late at night in an empty locker room for all the impact it probably had on the tens of millions viewers watching him during the second presidential debate Sunday night.
You can’t apologize while shooting angry, menacing looks at your opponent, Hillary Clinton, and intermingling how her husband Bill Clinton did far worse things to women. Trump’s “apology” was a rambling, incoherent jumble of words devoid of even a trace of contrition.
Flash back to another hollow, insincere apology, August 17, 1998. That day President Clinton’s apology didn’t seem to resonate with sincerity or contrition either when he fessed up to his affair to the entire country.
President Clinton confessed to a sexual liaison with intern Monica Lewinsky, but sought to put an end to the scandal, defiantly insisting that “even presidents have private lives.” It wasn’t to be. Interest among the press, the public and even Congress ballooned over following months, leading to just the second presidential impeachment in U.S. history.
Clinton later acknowledged his original statement lacked the contrition many Americans were looking for.
Contrition! That’s what makes an apology believable.
Ironically Alec Baldwin, who plays Trump so superbly, was forced to apologize for being a bad dad in 2007 when he left a vile voicemail on his 11-year-old daughter’s phone.”
He apologized sincerely for the way he spoke to her, blaming it on the stress of his custody fight with ex-wife Kim Basinger. It was contrite and enabled Baldwin to move on.
Everyone makes mistakes, and celebrities like Baldwin and even presidents, and now candidates, for president are no exception.
One of the most effective apologies ever was the JetBlue apology in 2007— “We are truly sorry, we are deeply sorry for the anxiety, frustration and inconvenience that we caused. This is especially saddening because JetBlue was founded on the promise of bringing humanity back to air travel and making the experience of flying happier and easier for everyone who chooses to fly with us. We know we failed to deliver on this promise last week.”
Mr. Trump, instead of grimacing, looking irritated and making nasty references to the blunders of others, try to look deeply sorry as you tell women across the country:
“Fellow Americans, please forgive me. I respect women. I revere them. I hire you. I have confidence in you, and now I need you, all women, to forgive me as I’m no longer the apprentice.
I’m now going for the top job in our country, as I’m confident I can truly make America not only great again, but more tolerant, more decent, respectful, just and fair.”