Say what you want about Donald Trump, but the guy is one hell of an actor. His caricature portrayal of the unwavering star-spangled brute has been a total revelation.
Yet after twelve months of grandstanding demagoguery and some increasingly worrying sociopathic outbursts, it looks like Trump's attentive audience is finally growing a bit tired of the act.
They want to see something fresh – and ever the showman, it looks like Trump is willing to give it a stab.
On Thursday night, the GOP nominee turned heads by opening up to rally supporters in North Carolina with an uncharacteristically candid and seemingly heart-felt confession: apparently he doesn't always "choose the right words" when responding to criticism. What's more, he actually feels bad about hurting people's feelings with his off-the-cuff remarks.
Wow. Conservative pundits immediately shed a tear of joy. After all, this is the humble and relatable Donald Trump that level-headed Republicans have been so desperately craving, right?
The only person due any credit for last night's hard reset is Donald Trump's oft-neglected teleprompter. For once, the Republican loudmouth actually managed to stick to the script. He resisted the urge to throw in some of the notoriously offensive adlibs for which he's so well known – and instead decided to treat perplexed supporters to a cold, stone-faced read aloud session.
Never has the man reeked so heinously of desperation. Donald Trump isn't sorry he's insulted people – he's sorry it's finally hurting his poll numbers. Trump's new campaign advisers know he's running out of time to show voters that he's familiar with empathy and other basic human emotions, and so they're doing their damnedest to try and deceive voters with empty talk of sunshine and rainbows.
It's a complete and utter farce, and nobody's falling for it.
But just for argument's sake, let's say this big apology is genuine. Let's take for granted that Donald Trump regrets making hurtful comments, and is desperately trying to make amends out of the kindness of his heart. He's thus far failed to mention exactly what it is he's sorry for.
Is he sorry for calling Mexicans rapists? Mocking disabled people? Wanting to ban Muslims from America? Saying a federal judge can't do his job because of where his ancestors are from? What about insinuating women can't do their jobs because of menstruation? Or seemingly calling for the assassination of his political opponent?
To be fair, that's a lot to apologise for. Maybe we should start a little bit smaller, like saying sorry for allegedly not renting his apartments to black people, mocking the parents of a fallen war hero or ejecting women from his campaign rallies as punishment for having children.
The list goes on and on. And the truth is, that list will continue to go on and on until the day Donald Trump's tiny fingers finally grow too brittle to fire off 140-character insults about fat people and women he doesn't like.
Even if last night's ambiguous show of regret was in some way genuine, it's simply too late to apologise. That ship has sailed. Donald Trump has caused hurt and offence to literally billions of people over the last twelve months, and hasn't batted an eyelid. In fact, it's sort of been the staple of his campaign. And now we're supposed to believe he didn't mean any of it?
By letting the tough guy act slip and showing us yet another ill-fitting mask, The Donald's latest pivot has only served as a reminder that everything he says is self-serving. Donald Trump doesn't care about you, he doesn't care about hurting your feelings and he doesn't care about America. He only cares about Donald Trump – and right now, Donald Trump isn't doing so hot.