Trump triggers up to $5M in ads to run in key states
Washington — For the first time since declaring his presidential run, Republican Donald Trump offered an extended apology to those who may have been hurt by his caustic comments, saying that he regrets some of what he’s said “in the heat of debate.”
“Sometimes in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that,” the GOP nominee reading from prepared text, said at a rally Thursday evening in Charlotte, N.C. “And believe it or not, I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain.”
He added: “Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues.” As the crowd cheered, Trump pledged to “always tell you the truth.”
Trump has struggled badly in recent weeks to offer voters a consistent message, overshadowing formal policy speeches with a steady stream of self-created controversies, including a public feud with an American Muslim family whose son was killed while serving in the U.S. military in Iraq.
Thursday’s remarks came as Trump makes significant changes to a campaign that has struggled since the Democratic and Republican nominating conventions from self-created distractions. Earlier, Trump moved to invest nearly $5 million in battleground state advertising to address daunting challenges in the states that will make or break his White House ambitions.
The New York businessman’s campaign reserved television ad space over the coming 10 days in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to Kantar Media’s political ad tracker. While Democrat Hillary Clinton has spent more than $75 million on advertising in 10 states since locking up her party’s nomination, Trump’s new investment marks his first of the general election season.
Election Day is 81 days away, with early voting in the first states set to begin in five weeks.
Earlier in the week, the Republican nominee tapped a combative conservative media executive, Stephen Bannon, to serve as CEO of his presidential bid. Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway filled the campaign manager position left vacant since Trump fired his former campaign chief almost two months ago.
Conway insisted Thursday that the new team would help re-focus the nominee, without sacrificing the authenticity that fueled his successful primary campaign.
“We’re going to sharpen the message,” Conway told CNN. “We’re going to make sure Donald Trump is comfortable about being in his own skin....”
Trump is spending at least $1.4 million in Florida, $1 million in Pennsylvania, about $831,000 in North Carolina and $746,000 in Ohio, according to Kantar Media states.