President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with conservative leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House Jan. 23, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

President Trump could use his State of the Union address to chart a new path forward. Perhaps his speech would sound something like this:

I come before you tonight to speak from the heart. No script.

Starting now, I will work to earn your trust. Many will be skeptical, for good reason.

I was taught to win at any cost, to be a killer, no matter who is hurt. That was wrong. I was taught to never appear weak, never apologize, never admit responsibility, to blame, to counterattack and threaten. All that was wrong. Many have suffered from my egocentricity. For that I sincerely apologize.

I will endeavor to unite our country. My behavior, words and actions have done the opposite. I have not been honest, and have used fear as motivation. I have been cruel and without compassion.

I want to change that. Please feel free to hold me accountable if I fail. A lifetime of bad habits dies hard.

I have attacked our agencies like the CIA, FBI, the judiciary, the press and media, elected and appointed officials. I have attacked countries and their leaders. I have criticized NATO, which is invaluable to the security of civilized nations. I have appeased dictators. None of this is productive.

I have threatened a trade war with China, Europe, and others. That harms our economy. That will cease, although we will monitor unfair international economic situations.

I have used my election for personal gain financially. I have had business dealings with Russia and Saudi Arabia, which I have minimized or denied.

I claimed the tax cut passed in December 2017 would cost me a fortune. That was not true. It mostly helped me and people like me, and could damage our treasury. We need fair taxation, and everyone should pay a fair share to bolster that.

We must find a way to improve health care. It is too expensive. A fair way must be found to cover those most in need. Too much money and greed are involved. We can evaluate other countries as models that function well.

We must improve our infrastructure. That takes resources. We must contribute financially to that need. We have wasteful spending in many areas, including the military, and must weed out fraud and abuse.

We must find a rational way to improve immigration. I have used fear and unfounded accusations regarding this. I have said that the solution to illegal immigration is a wall. It is not. It is only a monument to xenophobia and paranoia. I claimed that we would build the wall and Mexico will pay for it. They will not.

Everyone wants efficient border security, including Democrats.

No one wants criminals, terrorists, dangerous drugs and human trafficking.

Perhaps a barrier in some places is effective, but human and technological monitoring should be combined.

We must find a better way for those to legally come to this country. Perhaps a better visa system, or better path to citizenship can be utilized for responsible people to assimilate into our great nation. We are a multicultural beacon of freedom. That must be encouraged, with reasonable law and order maintained.

Let us work together to truly make our country great, as it has always been. Let us promote civility.

I work for you, and if I fail in my responsibility, please hold me accountable.

I shall make every effort to fulfill it.

That is all I have to say. Thank you for your kind attention.

Shocked silence and a standing ovation would follow, and Trump would gain countless supporters — but what are the chances?

Paul McCreary grew up on a farm in Illinois, taught in the Detroit area for 29 years and retired in 1995. He lives in Green Valley with his wife.