WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Donald Trump said on Monday he wished he had taken a softer tone in his first two years as U.S. president, even as he continued to bash individual Democrats and fan fears over immigration while campaigning on the eve of congressional elections.
Asked in an interview with Sinclair Broadcasting, one of the largest U.S. television station operators, if there was anything he regretted about his first two years in office, Trump said, “I would say tone.”
“I would like to have a much softer tone,” he added. “I feel to a certain extent I have no choice, but maybe I do and maybe I could have been softer from that standpoint.”
Trump made a series of media appearances and campaign rallies in Ohio, Indiana and Missouri the day before elections that will determine whether his Republican party retains control of Congress.
Trump’s stated desire for a different, softer tone was not evident on Monday.
He labelled Richard Cordray, a Democratic candidate for Ohio governor, a “bad person.” He also reverted to familiar themes, calling Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas”, bashing the news media, shouting for security to remove protesters and criticizing Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein’s role in the nomination hearing of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Trump told Sinclair Broadcasting he was not happy with the vitriol in current U.S. political discourse, but blamed it on the election season.
“I’d love to get along and I think after the election a lot of things can happen,” Trump said. “But right now they’re in their mode and we’re in our mode.”
In Indiana, Trump said Democrats encourage “millions of illegal aliens to break our laws, violate our borders and overrun our country.”
“It’s not racism,” he told Sinclair. “It’s just that people have to come into our country legally, otherwise you don’t have a country.”
Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall