CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UPI) — Donald Trump on Thursday expressed regret on the campaign trail, saying some of his remarks have caused “personal pain.”

The Republican presidential nominee’s surprising near-apology during a speech in Charlotte, N.C., came after the latest shake-up in his campaign staff earlier this week. It was also the latest attempt, amid falling poll numbers, to try and show himself as more truthful than Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

“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,” Trump said.

“And believe it or not, I regret it. I do regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues,” he said. “But one thing; I can promise you this: I will always tell you the truth.”

Trump has built his campaign at least partly on conflict, with Twitter feuds and insults tossed out at campaign rallies, though mostly with other politicians. He also refused to back off insults he made earlier this month about Gold Star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed in Iraq in 2004.

In a bold move, Trump tried to turn around criticism of his campaign being racist by saying he would “reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton.”

“Those who believe in oppressing women, gays, Hispanics, African Americans and people of different faiths are not welcome to join our country,” he said.

The billionaire businessman also said Democrats had let down black voters and vowed “If African-American voters give Donald Trump a chance by giving me their vote,” he said, “the result for them will be amazing.”

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