Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is taking heat for saying half of Republican nominee Donald Trump’s supporters are from a “basket of deplorables.”
Speaking Friday night in New York at a fundraiser with liberal entertainer Barbra Streisand, Clinton said: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables’. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”
Clinton added: “He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”
Trump’s campaign pounced on the comments, saying: “Just when Hillary Clinton said she was going to start running a positive campaign, she ripped off her mask and revealed her true contempt for everyday Americans.”
“And what’s truly deplorable isn’t just that Hillary Clinton made an inexcusable mistake in front of wealthy donors and reporters happened to be around to catch it, it’s that Clinton revealed just how little she thinks of the hard-working men and women of America,” said Jason Miller, a Trump campaign spokesman.
Some immediately referred to it as Hillary Clinton’s “47 percent moment” — a reference to the media storm Republican Mitt Romney found himself in almost exactly four years ago.
On September 18, 2012, Romney — speaking to donors — referred to the “47 percent” of voters in America who will support President Obama and his Democratic agenda because they are “dependent on government” and they will never be convinced to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” Romney was relentlessly attacked by the Obama campaign and the media for deriding half the country.
Tonight, Hillary Clinton just had her “47 percent” moment.
Expect poll numbers to get even tighter after this one. #Deplorables
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) September 10, 2016
In her Friday evening remarks, Clinton said they should “empathize” with the other half of Trump’s supporters.
“That other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change,” Clintons said. “It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”
Clinton’s campaign is standing by her “deplorables” statement, drawing attention to a tweet from a Politico reporter showing she has used the word before to describe Trump supporters.
“She gave an entire speech about how the alt right movement is using his campaign to advance its hate movement,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill wrote on Twitter after she made the remark. “Obviously not everyone supporting Trump is part of the alt right, but alt right leaders are with Trump. And their supporters appear to make up half his crowd when you observe the tone of his events.”