Since this piece is about apologies, I will begin with one from me to Love Story author Erich Segal as I offer this sad observation: “Trump means never having to say you’re sorry.” The ability to feel empathy and remorse, express regret, and engage in meaningful self-reflection is a preciously unique part of what makes us human. However, none of this sentiment has managed to find a home inside the walking trash compactor commonly known as Donald Trump.
Having steadfastly and enthusiastically exploited the earth and its mostly well-meaning inhabitants for three quarters of a century, Trump arguably has more to apologize for than any other leader in American history. Trump’s toxic actions while in office and a lifetime of defaming and destroying everything around him portray a depth and breadth of deplorability that is unnerving and unparalleled.
An example of a sincere Trump apology does not exist. Trump’s remarks following the Access Hollywood tape release in 2016 merely appear to check off all the boxes. Trump said, “I was wrong, and I apologize” in a video statement, then at the second presidential debate two days later, he added that “I am not proud of it,” that “I am very embarrassed by it” and that “I hate it.” However, Trump deflected by accusing President Bill Clinton of doing worse and ultimately called the tape “fake news.” With a few weeks remaining before the presidential election, Trump gritted his teeth and delivered a lie to prevent his campaign from imploding.
President Joe Biden began this week with an apology to world leaders at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. “I guess I shouldn’t apologize, but I do apologize for the fact that the United States — the last administration pulled out of the Paris accord. It put us sort of behind the eight ball a little bit,” Biden admitted. Although Biden’s apology was not for something that he or his administration had done, there is no question about its sincerity.
In less than a year in office, Biden has consistently led the way where Trump could not. Over four long years, Trump proved himself incapable of so much, from controlling the pandemic and keeping Americans safe to supporting the middle class and growing the economy. It seems surreal, but Biden has now proven that he does a far better job apologizing for Trump’s transgressions than Trump himself has ever done. Sorry, Trump.