10 Ways Donald Trump’s Apology Failed


Remember how Donald Trump sexually harassed Nancy O’Dell? And how he basically admitted in an audio recording that sexual assault is no biggie if you’re famous?

He apologized for that, and he didn’t do a great job of it. Gregg Ward, author of The Respectful Leader, explains, “Unfortunately for Trump supporters, his apology missed the mark and won’t help him earn much forgiveness. There were four major mistakes in his video and Twitter apologies. Here’s where he went wrong—and ways you can learn from his mistakes.

1. “I apologize ‘if’ anyone was offended.” Now, “If” is a ‘weasel word,’ and using it in an apology is an attempt to not take responsibility for one’s behavior while shifting the problem over to those who are offended. To suggest that an apology is due only “if” someone is offended is a denial of reality, and part of a non-apology apology.

2. Trump said… “I regret and the words released today on this decade old video…” Later on he says “this is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues…” By using the phrases “decade old video,” and “distraction from the important issues” Trump is minimizing his behavior, implying that it’s not all that serious as things happening now.

3. He wasn’t sincere. Every apology has to come from a genuine place. His demeanor during the video apology seemed like he was doing it more because he knew he had to do something. And by turning it into an attack on Clinton, he negated any sincerity that might have been inside of the apology.

4. He didn’t own his behavior and specify the problem. Yes, Trump does this somewhat by saying “I’ve said and done things I regret and this is one of them.” But, he’s being specific in admitting exactly what he did wrong.

5. He didn’t show empathy. Make it clear you know how you hurt others—Trump does not do this. Instead he says others (the Clintons) have done far worse.

6. He made excuses. By saying “decade old” he’s minimizing the behavior, it’s a way of excusing it.

7. He didn’t ask for forgiveness. Trump says he’s sorry, but doesn’t ask for forgiveness

8. Be specific about how you’ll change your behavior in the future. Trump pledges to be a “better man,” but he’s not specific about how or what he’s going to do.

9. Offer to make amends. Trump does not offer to make amends of any kind

10. Actually make amends. He didn’t offer to make amends so he can’t start.

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