I regret saying half of Trump’s supporters are deplorables – Clinton

I regret saying half of Trump’s supporters are deplorables – Clinton
September 11 09:37 2016

Hillary Clinton expressed “regret” Saturday for comments in
 which she said “half” of Donald Trump’s supporters are
”deplorables,” meaning people who are racist, sexist,
 homophobic or xenophobic.
”Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that’s never a
good idea. I regret saying ‘half’ — that was wrong,” Clinton
 said in a statement in which she also vowed to call out 
”bigotry” in Trump’s campaign.

The Democratic presidential nominee sparked an uproar late
 Friday when she described Trump’s supporters at a
 “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

Clinton then said some of these people were “irredeemable”
and “not America.”
She 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. 
The Democratic nominee made similar comments in an 
interview Thursday 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.
”Isn’t it disgraceful that Hillary Clinton makes the worst
 mistake of the political season and instead of owning up to 
this grotesque attack on American voters, she tries to turn it
 around with a pathetic rehash of the words and insults used
 in her failing campaign?” Trump said in a statement. “For
the first time in a long while, her true feelings came out,
 showing bigotry and hatred for millions of Americans.”

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. “
Clinton had earlier divided Trump’s supporters into “two big
baskets,” what she called “the deplorables,” in an interview 
with Channel 2 News Israel that aired Thursday.
 “If I were to be grossly generalistic, I would say you can
take Trump supporters and put them in two big baskets, “
Clinton said. “There are what I call the deplorables — the
 racists, you know, the haters, and the people who are drawn
 because they think somehow he’s going to restore an
 America that no longer exists.

So just eliminate them from 
your thinking, because we’ve always had an annoying
 prejudicial element within our politics. “
Clinton made the comments before introducing Barbra
 Streisand at an LGBT fundraiser in downtown New York.
 According to average ticket prices and attendance figures
 provided by the campaign, Clinton raised around $6 million
at the fundraiser, at which some attendees paid $50,000.
 In seizing upon the comments, Trump used the opportunity
to do some fundraising as well. 
”Now is the time to show Hillary the consequences of her
words,” Trump’s campaign wrote in an appeal to
 supporters. “I’m asking you and the millions of hard-
working, patriotic Americans whom she just insulted, to fight 
back with a contribution of $100, $65, $50, $35, $25, $15, or
even $5 to elect Donald Trump to the White House.”

Clinton expresses regret

In her statement Saturday, Clinton was emphatic in 
condemning what she said was Trump’s racially insensitive
She listed a series of controversial moments from Trump’s 
campaign, including his fight with a Muslim Gold Star family,
 criticism of a federal US judge of Mexican heritage and his 
insinuation that Obama wasn’t born in the US.
”I won’t stop calling out bigotry and racist rhetoric in this
 campaign,” Clinton said.
 She also noted her comments about empathizing with other 
Trump supporters.
 “As I said, many of Trump’s supporters are hard-working
 Americans who just don’t feel like the economy or our 
political system are working for them,” Clinton said. “I’m 
determined to bring our country together and make our
 economy work for everyone, not just those at the top.
 Because we really are ‘stronger together.’ “
Around the same time Clinton issued her statement, Trump
 also made a case for unity.
 “While Hillary said horrible things about my supporters, and
 while many of her supporters will never vote for me, I still 
respect them all!” Trump said on Twitter.

A senior Democrat close to the campaign told CNN it wants 
to have a conversation about what it sees as the racism in
Trump’s campaign, but could not have that part of the
 conversation until Clinton backed away from the “half”
 The Democrat added that Clinton’s concession drew a
 contrast with Trump.
”She can admit when she is wrong — Trump never does,” the 
Democrat said.

‘Prejudice and paranoia’

Clinton’s comments amounted to startlingly blunt talk for a 
candidate who is usually measured in her assessment of
 the Republican nominee.
 Although Clinton has accused Trump of racism before, she 
has never explicitly called him a racist. Last month, she 
delivered a major speech in which she accused Trump of
 aligning himself with far-right extremists and saying he
”built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia.”
”He’s taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical
 fringe take over the Republican Party,” Clinton said in Reno, 
Nevada. “His disregard for the values that make our country
 great is profoundly dangerous. “
Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton’s campaign, cited the
speech in attempting to clarify the Democratic nominee’s 
comments Friday night.
”Obviously not everyone supporting Trump is part of the alt
right, but alt right leaders are with Trump,” Merrill tweeted,
 adding, “And their supporters appear to make up half his 
crowd when you observe the tone of his events.”
Clinton’s campaign was continuing to dig in Saturday
 morning as outrage swirled over the comment, though
 surrogates were emphasizing that Clinton was talking about 
Trump’s supporters — people who attend his rallies — and
 not Trump voters, a larger group, in the eyes of the
campaign, that includes more moderate Republicans.
 Vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine told The Washington
 Post that Clinton’s statement didn’t require an apology.
 “She said, ‘Look, I’m generalizing here, but a lot of his
 support is coming from this odd place, that he’s given a 
platform to the alt-right and white nationalists,’ ” Kaine told 
the newspaper.

“But then she went on to say, ‘Look, there’s
 also a number of his supporters that have economic
 anxieties, and we’ve got to speak to those.'”
Added Kaine: “There are supporters we’re not going to get. “
Tyrone Gale, a Clinton spokesman, rejected Trump
 campaign manager Kellyanne Conway’s call on Twitter for
 an apology by tweeting a New York Times video depicting
 vulgar and obscene comments made by some Trump
 supporters at his rallies. 
And Bakari Sellers, a Clinton surrogate and CNN contributor,
 was defiant when asked about the remark.
 “This election is about beating back bigotry and hate,”
Sellers said in an interview. “Whether it’s 10% or 50%,
 Donald Trump and his supporters have elevated it. If you’re
 not a bigot, her comments shouldn’t offend you.”


The controversy recalled rhetorical stumbles in previous 
campaigns. In 2008, Obama told an audience at a closed
fundraiser that decades of lost jobs and unfulfilled promises 
from Washington had left some Pennsylvanians “bitter” and
 clinging “to guns or religion or antipathy to people who 
aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade
sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
He later acknowledged that the comment was
 And late in the 2012 campaign, Romney, the GOP nominee,
was memorably caught in a secretly recorded video telling
donors that “there are 47 percent of the people who will vote
 for the President no matter what,” saying they “believe they
 are victims, who believe that government has the
 responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are
 entitled to health care, to food, to housing.”
 Romney later told reporters the comments were “not
 elegantly stated.”

Trump himself invoked the gaffe to slam Clinton Saturday 
night, also retweeting Obama’s remark four years ago that
”We need a President who is fighting for all Americans, not
 one who writes off nearly half the country. “
What separates Obama and Romney’s comments from
 Clinton’s, however, is that they believed their remarks were
 private. Clinton’s event on Friday was only the sixth out of
 the more than 330 fundraisers she’s attended as a
candidate that was open to the press.

Almost immediately, “#BasketofDeplorables” began trending
on Twitter, and conservatives and Trump supporters were
predictably outraged. 
”The truly deplorable thing in this race is the shameful level
 of condescension & disrespect @HillaryClinton’s showing to 
her fellow citizens,” Republican National Committee
 Chairman Reince Priebus said on Twitter.
 Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt suggested Trump 
open each speech by asking his crowds, “So, which half of
 you are in the #basketofdeplorables?”
 Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, a notable Trump critic,
 tweeted, “Hillary Clinton’s creed: ‘All men are created equal’
– except for those I’ve consigned to the basket of
deplorables, who are irredeemable.”
Even some Democrats noted the political opportunity Clinton
had given Republicans.
”‘Basket of deplorables’ reminds me of ‘binders full of
 women.’ Equally tone deaf statements divorced from 
reality,” tweeted Lis Smith, Obama’s director of rapid
 response during his 2012 campaign.

David Axelrod, a former chief strategist to Obama who is 
now a CNN commentator, referenced the controversy over
Obama’s “guns and religion” line at a 2008 fundraiser,
 tweeting, “Fundraiser remarks are treacherous things.”
Speaking to CNN’s Michael Smerconish Saturday morning,
 Bob Beckel, who managed Walter Mondale’s 1984 
presidential campaign, offered no defense of Clinton.
”It’s the wrong thing to say,” Beckel said.