For release on 10/09/2016 @ 08:00 PM EST

Dear supporters, members of the press, fellow Americans.

I know the clock is running close to show time, but I felt it was important to say what I have to say before the debate begins.

I have been searching my conscience and my soul for a while now and I need to apologize. I therefore extend my deepest apologies, not only to those I have berated, demeaned and sought to humiliate, but also to all of those I have hurt in the process.

I explicitly apologize to the Mexican people whom I unfairly and without merit singled out to boost ratings and grow support for a project that would not only have been futile and unsuccessful, but resulted in atrocities against humanity.

I also apologize to the Chinese people about whom I raised unduly suspicion of their intentions. Intentions which more resembled mine than anyone else’s and did not reflect the respect for sovereign nations that is crucial to make the global community work.

I apologize to all Muslims. Defining Islam as an enemy was beyond wrong because it has greatly added to tension and conflict rather than seeking to solve it. Any attack on religion and belief systems is an unforgivable attack on humanity as a whole.

I apologize to the Black community for which I have shown alarming disrespect and lack of understanding. Regardless of ethnicity and color we are all proud Americans and should be treated as such.

I apologize the deepest for how blatantly sexist, I have been. Any explanation is insufficient and beside the point. Sexism stems from cowardice and gross insecurity and I am guilty of both.

Thus, I have said and done despicable and inexcusable things, not only during this campaign, but throughout my whole life. I have no right to expect any forgiveness from you; I can only strive to do the right thing from now on and perhaps with time be able to forgive myself.

My first act of redemption will be to step down from the presidential candidacy with immediate effect. I am using the word ‘down’, rather than ‘aside’ with full intention, because the Presidency of the United States is the highest office there is, and I have not treated it with the proper respect. Whoever is bestowed the honor and the trust of that position should not take it lightly, and I bow to the people who are willing and capable of lifting that burden. I now know that I am not such a person.

Thank you for your attention.

God bless America.

[This post first appeared on on 10/09/2016]