Trump strikes an oddly regretful tone after hammering Democrats with ‘racist’ campaigning

President Donald Trump has appeared to be extending an olive branch as danger draws near in the midterm elections. Getty Images/Pool
  • President Donald Trump struck an unusual tone in a recent interview after a campaign filled with vitriolic anti-immigration rhetoric and ads widely seen as racist.
  • Trump appeared sorry for his harsh tone while calling for reconciliation with Democrats, whom he has accused of plotting an immigrant invasion of the US.
  • The latest polling suggests Republicans are poised to lose control of the House of Representatives but keep the Senate in Tuesday’s midterms.
  • Trump has struggled to push through his agenda even with the presidency and both chambers of Congress in his party’s power, and he has warned that Democrats could roll it all back.

After vigorously campaigning for Republicans in the midterms with hardline anti-immigration rhetoric often seen as racist, President Donald Trump struck an unusually regretful tone in an interview on the eve of Election Day.

Trump has deployed 5,000 troops, some of whom appeared in combat gear, to the US-Mexico border while appearing to muse about having them shoot immigrants.

Trump released an anti-immigration ad against the Democrats that was so racially charged it prompted an unprecedented media response, with Facebook, NBC, Fox, and CNN refusing to air it.

Read more:
Trump asks Supreme Court to wind down ‘Dreamer’ immigration program

Trump gave speeches branding the Democrats as radicalized socialists hoping to take away lawfully owned guns from US citizens and open the borders to immigrants he called “invaders,” making false or unfounded claims along the way.

But with Republicans’ complete grip on government power poised to slip from Trump’s hands, as polling aggregators give Democrats an 80% chance of winning the House of Representatives, he expressed regret over his tone.

Trump seems sorry

Donald Trump rally
Trump at a campaign rally in Iowa on October 9. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Asked in an interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group whether he had any regrets from his first two years in office, Trump pointed straight at his own words and actions.

“I would like to have a much softer tone,” he said. Trump attributed his often-harsh tone to a desire to get things done and to antagonists in the Democratic Party, saying the combative nature of politics may have tied his hands.

“I feel to a certain extent I have no choice, but maybe I do,” he continued.

Perhaps hedging against losing the House, Trump also spoke of mending relations with the Democrats, and he chalked up vitriol on both sides as mere campaign rhetoric.

“I would love to get along, and I think after the election a lot of things can happen,” Trump said in the interview. “But right now they are in their mode, and we are in our mode. And you know if you’re criticised, you have to hit back, or you should.”

Read more:
9 Senate races that are shaping up to be nail-biters and will determine which party controls the Senate

Trump’s policies risk being washed away in a blue wave

Polls indicate that Republicans are likely to hold the Senate or even gain ground. But losing even one chamber of Congress could seriously cripple Trump’s legislative agenda that has sputtered and stalled even with the presidency and all of Congress under his control.

On Monday on a telephone “town hall” organised by his reelection campaign, Trump told voters that his hold on government and the future of his achievements were “fragile,” the Associated Press noted.

Everything he’s done in office “can be undone and changed by the Democrats if they get in,” Trump said.

Read more:
In New York, California, Texas, and 27 other states you can take time off from work to vote – here’s the full list

When the polls close Tuesday, voters around the US will have determined who controls Congress amid the least popular presidency since the advent of modern polling.

But on the eve of the fateful day, Trump began peppering his usual hard-charging rhetoric with self-criticism and what appeared as calls for reconciliation.

“I do eventually want to unite,” Trump said at a rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana, “but I’m driving them crazy.”