Donald Trump Thursday expressed "regret" over some of the incendiary remarks he has made during the presidential campaign — vowing in North Carolina to "offer the American people a new future of honesty, justice, and opportunity."
"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," Trump told a cheering crowd at the Charlotte Convention Center. "And, believe it or not, I regret it.
"I do regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain," Trump said. "Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues.
"But one thing I can promise you is this: I will always tell you the truth."
Throughout the campaign, Trump has slammed Hispanics, women and other groups.
He has accused a federal judge of not being objective in hearing a lawsuit against Trump University because of his Hispanic heritage — and slammed the parents of a Muslim Army captain who died in Iraq.
These comments have caused Trump's poll ratings to plunge, driving donations and endorsements from the Republican presidential nominee.
Trump's speech was his first since a major shake-up in his campaign on Wednesday. Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen Bannon was named chief executive and pollster Kellyanne Conway was promoted to campaign manager.
The campaign has also invested nearly $5 million in advertising in four key battleground states beginning on Friday.
"I speak the truth for all of you and for everyone in this country who doesn't have a voice, of which there are many," Trump said. "I speak the truth on behalf of the factory worker who lost his or her job — and that's happening more and more in our country.
"I speak the truth on behalf of the veteran who has been denied the medical care they need and the medical care they deserve and so many are not making it.
"But they're going to make it if Trump becomes president," he said.
Trump embraced inclusiveness and diversity — rejecting bigotry — in his speech, declaring that “our campaign is about representing the great majority of Americans.
"Republicans, Democrats, independents, conservatives, and liberals, who read the newspaper or turn on the television and don't hear anyone speaking for them.
"All they hear are insiders fighting for other insiders," he added. "These are the forgotten men and women in our society — and they are angry at so much and on so many levels."
In his pledge to "never tell you something I do not believe," Trump challenged Democrat Hillary Clinton to come clean with voters.
"While sometimes I can be too honest, Hillary Clinton is the exact opposite," he said. "She never tells the truth.
"One lie after another and getting worse with each passing day."
He cited the email scandal and pointed to Thursday's admission by the State Department that the $400 million in cash paid to Iran was being held pending the release of five American hostages being held in Tehran.
"Now, the administration has put every American traveling overseas, including our military personnel, at greater risk of being kidnapped," Trump said. "Hillary Clinton owns President [Barack] Obama's Iran policy.
"One more reason she can never ever be allowed to be president."
Trump reiterated a number of his earlier campaign promises — building the wall on the U.S. border with Mexico, destroying the Islamic State and radical jihadism, and banning refugees from countries that support terrorism — and took pride in making "the powerful, and I mean very powerful, a little uncomfortable now and again.
"Including some of the powerful people, frankly, in my own party," Trump continued, "because it means that I'm fighting for real change."
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