Election 2016

Watch: Trump to Kelly, 'Regrets Aren't Healthy'—Psychologists Disagree

The Donald admits the John McCain and Carly Fiorina insults might have been over the top, but that's all.

Last night, Donald Trump sat down with Fox News' Megyn Kelly to answer some tough questions about his campaign and its message. Trump and Kelly have feuded for nearly a year, and in the much bally-hooed interview, Kelly sought to tackle the issues still lingering from the first GOP presidential debate of 2016. She was particularly interested in Donald Trump's reflection on the insults which have become a quintessential part of his campaign. 

 “Let me just give you a list, and you can tell me if you have any regrets on it,” Kelly told Trump.

"The comment about John McCain, you prefer people who weren’t captured, the comment about Carly Fiorina’s face. Do you regret any of those comments?” she asked. 


Trump did. At least a little.

“Yeah, I guess so, but you have to go forward," he told Kelly. "You make a mistake, you go forward and you can correct the mistake, but to look back and say ‘Gee whiz, I wish I hadn’t done this or that,’I don’t think that’s good. In a certain way, I don’t even think that’s healthy."

However, psychologists disagree.

"Regret, like all emotions, has a function for survival. It is our brain's way of telling us to take another look at our choices; a signal that our actions may be leading to negative consequenes. Regret is a major reason why addicts get into recovery!" Melanie Greenberg Ph.D. told Psychology Today.

 And James O. Henman, Ph.D. even defines regret as "a healthy grieving reaction," because it "draws us toward healing and healthiness. If it is a present situation, Regret helps motivate healthy change in the present. If it is a past situation, Regret helps create a desire to learn and grow from that painful past difficulty," Henman said. 

And John M. Grohol, Psy.D. believes guilt can be very positive also.

"Healthy guilt is telling us we need to do something different in order to repair relationships important to us (or our own self-esteem). The sooner we “learn the lesson” – e.g., make amends, work to not engage in the same hurtful behavior in the future, etc. – the sooner the guilt will disappear. If successful, it will never return for that issue again," Grohol explained. 

Of course, Kelly seemed far more interested in Trump's insults against fellow Republicans than his completely disgusting statements about Muslims and Mexicans. (One suspects he has not regrets about those. After all, they were just suggestions.)


Don't let big tech control what news you see. Get more stories like this in your inbox, every day.

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.