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Trump's big mistake

11 October 2016

He clearly performed better in the second debate than the first, but Donald Trump made one big mistake that hasn’t received much attention.

I’m referring to his apology for the comments he made about women on the tape that emerged from 2005. He did apologise, but it wasn’t absolute.

He said he was sorry for the ‘locker room talk’, but Bill Clinton was much worse because he took it a step further and actually sexually abused women.

While that might seem acceptable to some, the word BUT always negates what was said before it. So his apology would have been taken by many to mean “I’m sorry, but I’m not really because I know someone who did worse things than me.”

That doesn’t work. He should have apologised unreservedly and stopped. If he wanted to bring Bill Clinton into it (even though he’s not standing), he should have done that separately and not linked the two issues.

It’s common for public figures to do this. They don’t always realise that often an absolute apology is not only the right thing to do, but the best way to deal with an issue and move on. People are often more concerned how they react to a mistake than the fact they made it in the first place.

Trump was always going to have a huge problem attracting votes from women after the tape was released. By downplaying what he said, he will only find it even more difficult now.

If you want to grow your media interview skills for that potential media scrutiny, download my White Paper, ‘5 Steps to Pain-Free Media Interviews," here.

Filed under Media Training

Written by

Pete is a leading New Zealand media trainer and regular blogger for his company, Media Training NZ . He has helped leaders from all sectors of society communicate with the media and other stakeholders. Pete is a former daily newspaper reporter and press secretary in the New Zealand government. From these roles, he understands the media process from both sides of the camera.

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