Hillary Clinton’s campaign is standing by politically incendiary comments she made Friday night grouping half of Donald Trump’s supporters into “the basket of deplorables,” people who are racist, sexist, homophobic or xenophobic.
In an effort to explain the support behind Trump, Clinton, speaking at a fundraiser, also described the rest of his supporters as people who are looking for change in any form because of economic anxiety and urged her supporters to empathize with them.
“To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables,” Clinton said. “Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.”
She added, “And unfortunately, there are people like that and he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people, now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric.”
Clinton then said some of these people were “irredeemable” and “not America.”
The Democratic nominee made similar comments in an interview the day before with an Israeli television station. But when they were widely reported Friday night, Trump and Republicans quickly pounced on the remarks, which drew comparisons to President Barack Obama’s comments about clinging to “guns and religion” at a 2008 campaign fundraiser and Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remark in 2012.
“Wow, Hillary Clinton was SO INSULTING to my supporters, millions of amazing, hard working people. I think it will cost her at the Polls!” Trump tweeted Saturday morning.
Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, forcefully condemned Clinton “in the strongest possible terms” Saturday at the Values Voter Summit in Washington.
“The truth of the matter is that the men and women who support Donald Trump’s campaign are hard-working Americans, farmers, coal miners, teachers, veterans, members of our law enforcement community, members of every class of this country, who know that we can make America great again,” Pence said.
“Let me just say, from the bottom of my heart, Hillary, they are not a basket of anything,” Pence continued. “They are Americans and they deserve your respect.”