Hillary Clinton angers Republicans by referring to Donald Trump supporters as ‘basket of deplorables’
Trump campaign insists remark reveals Clinton’s ‘contempt for everyday Americans’
Hillary Clinton said some of Donald Trump’s supporters could be classified as a “basket
of deplorables” – a remark that inflamed his Republican allies who pegged her remark as demeaning to voters.
A group of people backing the Republican nominee is “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it,” Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, said at a campaign fundraiser on Friday at Cipriani Wall Street, an upscale Italian restaurant in New York.
Clinton’s fundraisers have typically been closed to the press but a pool of journalists was permitted to hear her remarks. Tickets, targeted at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender supporters, ranged from US$1,200 for a standard seat to US$250,000 or more to be listed as a host. The fundraiser drew a sold-out crowd of 1,000, her campaign said.
“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,“ Trump spokesman Jason Miller said in a statement.
Republican pollster Frank Luntz described Clinton’s comments as her “47 per cent moment,’ a reference to when Republican candidate Republican Mitt Romney said during a private fundraiser in the 2012 campaign that “47 per cent” of voters would choose to return Barack Obama to the White House because they are dependent upon government.
“Hillary Clinton just insulted millions of hard-working Americans simply because they don’t want to vote for her,” Luntz tweeted after Clinton’s comments swept social media.
Clinton said most Trump supporters are people who feel maligned by the political system.
“The rest of his supporters, though, 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,” she said.
Those people, Clinton said, could be open to persuasion.
“If you know anybody who’s even thinking about voting for Trump, stage an intervention,” she told the crowd, after mentioning her opposition to gay-conversion therapy, Persuading people not to vote for Trump “may be one conversion therapy I endorse,” Clinton said.
The Clinton campaign later sought to explain her “basket of deplorable” remark, saying she was referring to people who actively back him, such as donors, endorsers and people at his rallies, not everyone who plans to vote for Trump.
People who align themselves with the white nationalist “alt-right” movement “appear to make up half his crowd when you observe the tone of his events,” spokesman Nick Merrill tweeted.