Laura Washington: ‘I’m sorry’ would go a long way for Trump

SHARE Laura Washington: ‘I’m sorry’ would go a long way for Trump

President-elect Donald Trump at the White House earlier this month. | AP file photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

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Two words.

I am not looking for marches, recounts or Electoral College flips. The presidential election is over. Donald J. Trump won.

I am looking for two words.

Trump spent his 17-month campaign maligning Muslims, Latinos, African Americans, women, members of the military, and the disabled, to name more than a few.

On election night, Trump ended his dark, angry campaign that tore the nation apart, with a call for unity.

“To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me.”

If Trump truly wants to “make America great again,” America needs to hear two more words.

“I’m sorry.”


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They won’t come easily to an uber-narcissist with famously thin skin.

I am sorry for the bigoted, racist and sexist attacks I made on good, decent Americans.

I wish I had not ridiculed the grieving mother a Muslim-American war hero.

I should have never boasted that my fame gives me license to sexually molest women.

I regret the promise to prosecute and jail my political opponent in the presidential campaign.

It was wrong to imply that America is overrun with Mexican rapists and criminals. Perdónenme.

I didn’t mean all those pyrrhic words and deeds I delivered in pursuit of the presidency.

Trump doesn’t need to list every one of his multitudinous transgressions. No one has time for that.

But if he is serious about healing, and governing for all, he needs to man up.

Trump is reaching out to fellow Republicans he viciously lambasted in the campaign, from the 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, to primary rival and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

That’s fine but not enough.

It’s also not enough to tout a few appointments of women and people of color, like South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Dr. Ben Carson.  That’s phony diversity.

These flashy fig leaves cannot obscure other, early appointees: White men who have been hostile to diversity and fairness. People like U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Trump’s pick for attorney general.

Trump’s new senior advisor is Steve Bannon, former executive chairman of, the bigoted voice of the angry white man.

At a Nov. 19 conference of the white nationalist National Policy Institute, participants “shouted versions of Nazi slogans, as some audience members raised their arms in the Nazi salute,” the New York Times reported.  Some at the meeting, held blocks from the White House, celebrated Trump’s election.

“I disavow the group,” the president-elect said last week in a meeting with Times editors, reporters and columnists. “It’s not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized, I want to look into it and find out why.”

He doesn’t know? Trump has forgotten what he has been saying for 17 months?

Trump promotes intolerance, then says he does not condone it. He fans the flames, then walks away from the blaze. Trump must end his singular brand of a wink-and-a-nod bigotry. He must reject, firmly and unequivocally, the hate and division he fomented in his campaign.

“I’m sorry” is the only way to begin the healing.


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