Hillary Clinton has expressed regret over her controversial statement that half of Donald Trump’s supporters belonged in a basket of deplorables.
Clinton made the remark when speaking at a gala event for the group LGBT for Hillary in New York City on Friday night, saying: 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.
Some of those folks, she added, they are irredeemable.
In a statement released on Saturday afternoon, the Democratic presidential nominee repeated that she had been being grossly generalistic but expressed regret for saying ‘half’, adding: That was wrong.
However, she followed with longstanding lines of attack on Trump, saying the Republican nominee had built his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia and given a national platform to hateful views and voices.
She also 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.
Republicans had pounced on her remarks. In a Saturday speech to the Values Voters Summit of social conservative activists in Washington DC, which Trump addressed on Friday, Mike Pence condemned Clinton.
The Republican vice-presidential nominee said: The men and women who support Donald Trump’s campaign are hardworking Americans … Hillary, they are not a basket of anything. They are Americans, and they deserve your respect.
The chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), Reince Priebus, echoed Pence in a statement, saying: The truly deplorable thing in this race is the shameful level of condescension and disrespect Hillary Clinton is showing to her fellow citizens.
Trump, per his habit, initiallyresponded on Twitter. He wrote: While Hillary said horrible things about my supporters, and while many of her supporters will never vote for me, I still respect them all!
Subsequently, in a statement, the Republican nominee called Clinton’s remarks the worst mistake of the political season and accused her of showing bigotry and hatred for millions of Americans.
Trump added: How can she be president of our country when she has such contempt and disdain for so many great Americans? Hillary Clinton should be ashamed of herself, and this proves beyond a doubt that she is unfit and incapable to serve as president of the United States.
In an RNC conference call for reporters on Saturday afternoon, congresswoman Marsha Blackburn and pastor Darrell Scott, a long-time Trump supporter, insisted that Clinton’s comment displayed her elitism. They went on to characterize the remarks, which were open to pooled press, as having been made in private and somehow overheard.
Clinton has long targeted Trump’s ties to the so-called alt-right, a fringe internet-based movement with links to white nationalist thought, particularly after Steve Bannon, head of the Breitbart.com news site, became CEO of the Trump campaign in August.
In a speech that month in Reno, Nevada, Clinton said Trump and his supporters were the vanguard of a paranoid fringe which had taken control of the Republican party and insisted: This is not conservatism as we have known it.
In her statement on Saturday, she said: What’s really ‘deplorable’ is that Donald Trump hired a major advocate for the so-called ‘alt-right’ movement to run his campaign and that [former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard] David Duke and other white supremacists see him as a champion of their values.
It’s deplorable that Trump has built his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia and given a national platform to hateful views and voices, including by retweeting fringe bigots with a few dozen followers and spreading their message to 11 million people.
Trump first came to political prominence in 2011, falsely claiming that President Obama was born in Kenya. He has made a number of racially charged remarks throughout his campaign, which he launched in June 2015 by saying Mexico was deliberately sending rapists to the US.
On Twitter on Saturday, the longtime Trump confidante and former Nixon operative Roger Stone embraced the deplorables phrase, sharing a meme that grouped supporters of the Republican nominee, including the InfoWars.com host Alex Jones, in a takeoff of the action movie The Expendables.
News Source TheGuardianNews