The speech Donald Trump must give
© Getty Images

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE is once again reshuffling his campaign staff. But no amount of new hires is going to bring him back significantly in the polls.

It’s not Trump’s policies, personnel or persona that have to change. People are prepared to accept his brashness because they welcome his politically incorrect candor. It is rather the perception of Trump which is a disaster and which he is himself responsible for through reckless action.

The only way Trump can have any chance of winning this election is to deliver a major speech that directly addresses the elephant in the room, the issue of character and behavior.

Here is the speech he must give:

“My Fellow Americans:

“There is little debate in America about how broken our political system is. We have politicians that have been in office for so many decades that they don’t even remember where they come from. We have parties that control candidates rather than candidates that influence parties.

“It was for this reason that I rose in the polls and won a primary that noone believed I could win. People perceive my candidacy to be one of boldness and candor and not the same politics as usual. I received a lot of early credit for my willingness to speak my mind.

"No doubt, some of that candor and some of the things that I believe in upset many of you, but you can’t complain that politicians aren’t authentic then expect us to shut up about things we believe in. I will never apologize for the essential premise of my campaign, which is that people rather than professional politicians should be running this country.

“Having said all of that, I understand that I have made seminal, critical, and essential errors of judgment and I have displayed flaws of character that have alienated many of you. Indeed, running for president is an educational process, and I have learned much not only about politics but also about myself in this campaign.

“I am a strong man, and I will always believe in being strong. But tough should never mean insensitive or offensive. Strong and willful people can take responsibility for their actions and are prepared to admit error.

“Today I apologize for some of the mistakes that I made, including being insensitive and offensive to a reporter with a disability, speaking about the ethnicity of a judge when it was in no way relevant, and especially I apologize for the insinuation that America should have a religious litmus test for immigration.

“We do have a global problem of Islamic terror that is not being addressed effectively by our elected leaders. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFormer Obama adviser Plouffe predicts 'historical level' of turnout by Trump supporters Poll: More Republican voters think party is more united than Democratic voters Whoopi Goldberg presses Sanders: 'Why are you still in the race?' MORE won’t even utter the words ‘Islamic terror’ which is an offense to all decent, G-d fearing Muslims who are tarnished by those who murder in Islam’s name.

"From the beginning I should have made clear that I want to limit those who arrive from countries that have been severely infiltrated by terrorists. They do deserve special scrutiny, much as our country recently scrutinized immigrants from Ebola-ravaged Sierra Leone.

“Which brings me to the most important apology of my campaign.

“I am many things, but above all else I am a loving father. I have raised five good and decent children. I am so proud of them. If anything were to God forbid happen to any of them I don’t know if I would ever recover. The fact that I caused pain to the Khan’s who are a brave Muslim American family who lost a son serving our country in Iraq causes me tremendous pain.

“I of course accept the right of every gold star family to offer any criticism to any politician they wish. They have earned that right in spades. I have nothing but feelings of warmth and sympathy for them, and I hope they will forgive me and meet with me so that I can apologize to them in person.

“You know how important it is to me to be a winner, and the truth is that we win in life not by the money we earn, or the offices we acquire, but by the everyday moral victories of standing up to do the right thing amidst a natural inclination to behave selfishly. 

“If I have failed in that struggle at any time of this campaign, I am sorry, especially to those incredibly devoted legions who come in their tens of thousands around the country to cheer me on. I always want to be your champion. 

“G-d bless you, and G-d bless America.”

Shmuley Boteach, whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America” is the author most recently of “The Israel Warriors Handbook.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley


The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.