Teleprompters and apologies are two pretty common things for most people in the political sphere, but the combination of the two adds up to basically a nightmare scenario for the 2016 Republican presidential candidate. So it must have been 90 seconds of pure torture on Friday evening when Donald Trump issued a video apologizing for lewd comments he made in 2005.
I'm not being hyperbolic when I say that this might actually be the only time that Trump has apologized to the public in such a direct way. But if there is any situation that needed damage control, it's this one. The Washington Post obtained a 2005 tape of Trump speaking in extremely vulgar terms about women, and it was really disgusting.
The tape obtained by the Post captures a conversation between Trump and Billy Bush, who was then with Access Hollywood, as they make their way to the set of the soap opera Days of Our Lives, where Trump was filming a cameo. Trump told Bush that he uses his fame to pull women, and at one point told Bush, "Grab them by the p---y." Because, according to Trump, when you're a star, "you can do anything.” Safe to say an apology for these comments, though made more than a decade ago, was absolutely necessary.
The apology portion of the video lasts for a total of 20 seconds right at the beginning of the video, with Trump putting a firm period on his (probably forced) apology: "I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize." And with that, the apologetic bit of the video was done. Trump then moved on to humble-brag about how traveling across the country and sitting with common folks who are presumably not saying horrible things about women has contributed to his personal growth.
He then tried to spin it as nothing more than a sideshow. "Let's be honest, we're living in the real world." Trump said. "This is nothing more than a distraction from the important issues we're facing today." Trump then proceeded to wade back into the fray of his self-proclaimed "distraction" by turning his focus on how what he said pales in comparison to the actions of the Clintons.
"I've said some foolish things, but there's a big difference between the words and actions of other people." Those "other people" are the Clintons. Trump noted that Bill Clinton has "actually abused" women, and that Hillary Clinton has "bullied" and "shamed" his victims.
Not mentioned in this "apology": women, Melania Trump (whom he had wed about nine months before the 2005 incident was reportedly shot), or really, anyone. An apology isn't actually an apology if it isn't directed at anyone in particular. It sounds a lot like Trump was apologizing for being caught, rather than apologizing for actually doing anything.