U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a LBGT for Hillary Gala at Cipriani in New York, New York, United States September 9, 2016.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a LBGT for Hillary Gala at Cipriani in New York, New York, United States September 9, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder


By Jeff Mason

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said half the supporters of Republican rival Donald Trump belonged in a “basket of deplorables” of people who were racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, or Islamophobic.

Speaking at a fundraiser on Friday night in New York, Clinton said Trump had given voice to hateful rhetoric through his behavior as a candidate for the White House in the Nov. 8 election.

“To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables,'” Clinton said. “Unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”

Some of those people were irredeemable, she said, but they did not represent America.

The other basket of Trump’s supporters constituted individuals desperate for change who felt let down by the government and the economy, Clinton added.

“They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different,” Clinton said. “Those are people we have to understand and empathize with, as well.”

Clinton’s comments drew a rebuke from Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who said on Twitter that Clinton had insulted millions of Americans.

The hashtag #BasketOfDeplorables was trending on Saturday morning as many Twitter users either condemned or supported Clinton’s remarks.

Twitter user Basketeer Vendetta, under the account Vendetta92429, tweeted out a photo of Trump supporters wearing campaign T-shirts and hats, adding: “Proud to be part of the #BasketOfDeplorables with my fellow Americans.”

And Trump himself tweeted out: “Wow, Hillary Clinton was SO INSULTING to my supporters, millions of amazing, hard working people. I think it will cost her at the Polls!”

But some Twitter users said they agreed with Clinton, making reference to remarks by Trump that have been called racist, such as when he called some Mexican immigrants drug dealers and rapists.

Clinton’s comment could help Trump, said Republican strategist Doug Heye.

“As long as Trump stays out of the way and doesn’t overshadow Hillary’s comment, her ‘basket of deplorables’ comment should dominate the media in the coming days and runs the risk of negatively defining her campaign,” Heye said.

“The question is whether Trump can show a discipline thus far unseen.”

Many of Clinton’s fundraisers have been closed to the media, but not the one on Friday night.

“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,” Trump senior communications adviser Jason Miller said in a statement.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill noted a previous speech in which she accused New York businessman Trump of embracing a brand of U.S. political conservatism associated with white nationalism and nativism known as the “alt right” movement.

“Obviously not everyone supporting Trump is part of the alt right, but alt right leaders are with Trump,” Merrill said on Twitter. “And their supporters appear to make up half his crowd, when you observe the tone of his events.”

Clinton’s comments were followed by a concert by singer Barbra Streisand, who performed a version of the Stephen Sondheim song “Send in the Clowns” that parodied Trump.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; additional reporting by Luciana Lopez in New York and Steve Holland; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Grant McCool)

Reuters
  • Robin K Mullins

    This impresses me as a mistake on Clinton’s part. She needs to attack him and his policies (or lack thereof), not his supporters.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Robin. When I saw this headline this morning, I just gasped. I have family who vigorously support Trump for reasons that fail me. They are good people, but for reasons I don’t understand they are determined that Hillary cannot win, and Trump is their man. My family works hard; none of us have a lot — just part of what’s now called “the struggling middle class”. Deplorable? I don’t believe she said that. I will still vote for her since Donald Trump takes my breath away when I think of what could happen if he were to win.

      • I’m terribly afraid this will stick to Hillary Clinton like Romney’s 47 Percent comment dogged him to his defeat. Without those comments, she might have had a slim chance at winning.

      • The Ohioan

        *****

  • dduck

    Eh. No big deal either way. At least she will empathize and understand the other 50%.

  • ELIJAH SWEETE

    For someone with her experience in politics, this is breathtakingly awful. This one remark could cost her the presidency. Unlike Trump, she cannot get away with saying anything. How do you represent all the people when you’ve told 40+% of them they belong in a “basket of deplorables”? This is as bad a misstep as I’ve seen in a very long time.

    • KP

      I completely agree with ELIJAH SWEETE.

      • dduck

        I completely disagree with ES. We are in a completely different world now.

        • KP

          Let’s hope it keeps spinning.

          • dduck

            🙂

    • The Ohioan

      Agree, Elijah.

  • SteveK

    I for one think Hillary Clinton was being generous. Unless of course:
    a) You aren’t listening to what Trump and Trump supporters are saying.
    b) You believe that the United States Government IS your enemy.
    c) You believe that ‘Alt-White / Alt-Right is a pretty good idea and that only white people should have a voice in how this (THEIR?) country is run.
    d) ditto non-Christians.
    e) ditto non-native speakers of English.

    I’m disgusted with what has happened with political discourse. It’s right wing media’s world now. Keep nodding and saying they’re right and it’s O,K… But don’t complain when you wake up with fleas.

    • Paraphrasing (or not) Hillary Clinton, it was a grossly generalistic remark but, it is a fact that, Trump and some of his supporters do make deplorable remarks, as you point out, Steve.

      It is an unfortunate choice of words, but the fact that we are talking about it points to a couple of things:

      Democrats don’t expect or approve of such talk by our presidential candidate and immediately speak up when such occurs.

      We have become so numb and jaded by the constant stream of vile trash talk by the Republican presidential candidate that it hardly surprises us anymore.

      • The Ohioan

        *****

  • GrantS

    Going on right wing sites I see many on the right are using her words as a badge of honor. The outrage by some in the republican camp is thus nullified. If your supporters are proud deplorables it takes away from any victimization they could use as a prop. But anyone who has been paying attention to the alt-right would know that being called a racist (due to actions and racist words) doesn’t really matter to that crowd.

    Clinton is merely labelling them as they proudly see themselves. That is why her remark won’t hurt her campaign.

    • I hope you are right!

    • dduck

      Yup.

    • KP

      Interesting take. I don’t visit right wing sites and I will not vote for Trump.

      The reason I agree with ELIJA SWEETE is that I do believe there are people who are still undecided or leaning one way or the other. For example, active duty or retired military who have served since 2001. I don’t know if Hillary’s name calling will be an assist to her with that group.

      In your comment it seems you are taking into consideration how the “deplorables” feel. I never considered that.

      • KP

        I never considered that because the deplorables are already dead lock mortal Trump voters.

      • Bob Munck

        For example, active duty or retired military who have served since 2001.

        So they’re generally OK with the nasty things Trump says about them? Interesting.

        • KP

          Ask somebody else, silly.

          How the heck would I know

          Ask Dorian. He also seems stumped.

          My point, I would vote Hillary over Trump if I had to.

          In Cali, I don’t have to … yet.

          But if she keeps saying stooped sh*t like this I may have to vote for her.

  • dduck
  • rudi

    Hillary has already taken back this statement.
    Has Trump taken back:
    1) Mixing men and women in the military justifies rape.
    2) Racial attacks on a US born judge trying the Trump U con job.
    3) Anti-Semetic retweets of Hillary against a Star of David and money.
    4) Another retweet from a white supremacist claiming black on white crime.
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/nov/23/donald-trump/trump-tweet-blacks-white-homicide-victims/

    Parenthetically, the website Little Green Footballs traced the original image back to a Twitter stream that appears to originate in the United Kingdom and features a modified swatiska with the line “Should have listened to the Austrian chap with the little moustache.”

    • rudi

      Sorry about the image size, but no edit function…

    • dduck

      Hillary has already taken back this statement.
      What a wimp. I thought she had _______. Disappointed.

      • KP

        Hillary and Romney have a lot in common.

        I say that feeling that Romney would have been a better president than Obama in 2008 and that Hillary would also have been a better president in 2008.

        • KP

          I don’t know that McCain would have been a better president than Obama or Hillary in 2008, as Sarah was disqualifying. But he lived!

        • dduck

          Double bingo.

  • rudi

    Trump supporters would never beat a black man in Birmingham.
    http://www.rawstory.com/2015/11/get-him-the-hell-out-of-here-trump-sics-supporters-on-black-protester-who-gets-beaten-and-kicked/

    Yet another rally for GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has descended into violence.

    CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond posted video to Twitter of a black protester being shoved down, punched, kicked and tackled during a political rally for Trump in Birmingham, Alabama — a city with a long history of racial violence.

    In the video, Trump can be heard continuing to speak in the background, then can be heard saying, “Get him the hell out of here,” as the crowd jeers.

    According to Diamond, the protester seemed to be saying, “Black lives matter,” to which at least one Trump supporter responded, “All lives matter.” He was tackled to the ground, punched and kicked by white Trump supporters.

    This is not the first time Trump supporters have been caught carrying out racially-charged violence at rallies for the real estate mogul.

    Last month, a Latino protester was pushed down and roughly dragged by supporters at a rally in Miami.

  • JSpencer

    Hillary’s characterization was on the mark, and I agree with Steve K, it may have been a bit on the generous side. In any case, it will be forgotten soon enough – except by those who were never going to vote for her anyway. As for those who are still on the fence, what else on earth do they need to know? Don’t ask me what I really think of fence sitters.

    • KP

      I don’t know any fence sitters. In California Hillary is close to or at 100%.

      As far as I can tell nobody who has commented on this thread is a fence sitter, except SteveK.

      • KP

        🙂

      • JSpencer

        Well, California is barely in the USA, so…

        • KP

          So true!!

          Moderates in Cali are so far left of Obama it is disqualifying.

          • JSpencer

            😉

  • Robin K Mullins

    She said it, she owned it, she apologized, ’nuff said. Now she needs to move on. If someone asks her about it all she needs to reply is “Next question please.” Ditto for Benghazi, ditto for emails, ditto for Foundation, ditto etc. Move on. Stop defending. Just go after him for everything he has said and done to the people of this (already) great country.
    OMG, I’m sounding like a ditto head?!?

    • KP

      Sounding smart.

  • KP

    Barth Gimble (Martin Mull) and Jerry Hubbard (Fred Willard) remind me of Hillary and Trump.

    Fernwood 2 Night.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rm48gbC-NpI

  • Slamfu

    This will not cost her votes, and I’m proud Clinton came out and said this. I had the luxury of living across the street from a Trump rally in San Jose, and if anything I think her estimate is low. The Trump supporters I spoke to were awful, terrible people in terms of their racism and ignorance. I was shocked at the things being openly said and promoted. Outright calls of sexism, violence, slurs for mexicans, slurs for blacks, I don’t think I’ve ever in my life outside of a Tarantino movie heard the word “nigger” said so frequently and openly, people wearing shirts saying Make American White Again, and not Klan or Nazi’s either. Most of them looked like suburban folks you’d see anywhere. It was scary. I’ve never seen a political rally get that heated or, I don’t know, but I’ve been to some public rallies for Palestine vs. Israel, and while those get extremely heated, they didn’t have this aura of vileness to them. Of naked authoritarianism and mindlessness to it. Honestly, the thing it reminded me most of was those tapes of Nazi rallies in Germany.

    Trump has given license to the bigots in this country to come out of the shadows and let their freak flag fly. They should be called out, they should not be treated as if this is just another GOP v. Dem thing, it’s not. Something truly ugly is behind the movement that supports Trump. GWB might have been an awful President, but he wasn’t a maniac or like this. I’d take him in a second over Trump.

    • The Ohioan

      What slam said in triplicate.

    • SteveK

      Thank you Slamfu, as usual you hit all the nails on the head.

      Another thing that is cause for concern is how many supposedly ‘non-deplorable’ people (who also see this in Trump Supporters) are off put by what Hillary Clinton said.

      They should be standing behind her saying loud and strong, “Hillary Clinton IS RIGHT! Donald Trump is bringing out the worst in America and giving the a platform”… I sure as heII am.

    • JSpencer

      Slam is on the mark of course. I feel more anxiety about this election all the time, and continue to be floored by the number of voters in this country who are enthusiastic about handing over the reins of the USA to a man I wouldn’t trust to mow my lawn. I think it’s going to be a close one, which is a damning indictment of the electorate.

    • dduck

      Slam and others: We all agree Trump is deplorable (and add a few paragraphs to flesh that out for a plumper comment). But are 50%, or more, of Trump supporters (I’m not one) deplorable, I think that was the subject and how, if in any great measure, or not, it would effect voting for either candidate. I said NO way, way above.

      • Slamfu

        I don’t know about all Trump supporters duck, but at the rally, yes, easily over 50% were like that. There were booths up, banners flying, people walking right by saying these things, and everyone was comfortable with it. Honestly, you have to go see one to believe it duck, if there is one in your area, check it out just to see what I’m talking about.

        Honestly, I don’t even connect at the visceral level what I saw that day with the GOP. I really don’t like the GOP, I think their policies are terribly misguided and screw things up, but what I saw at that rally was something else entirely, and it was repulsive. I’m honestly shocked that there are that many of my fellow Americans who can gleefully get on board that hate wagon, I feel like I haven’t understood my own people in a way.

        • dduck

          Thanks.

  • First, she is right.
    Second, why say it?
    There has to be a political reason to say anything…unless you are Trump. Do they feel a need to impress upon their own people the “evilness” of the other side? Do they think that guilt by association will move undecided voters towards Clinton? Are those undecided voters even paying attention?

    I am not really sure how this moves the needle, and if it doesn’t, why do it?

    • JSpencer

      “why do it?”

      Sometimes the truth just has a way of slipping out.

      • SteveK

        * * * * *

    • Bob Munck

      First, she is right.
      Second, why say it?

      Because it makes a strong point to the half (or less) of Trump supporters who are NOT deplorables. They are likely to recognize themselves in what she said (“individuals desperate for change who felt let down by the government and the economy”) and perhaps have a small epiphany about their fellow travelers. When they realize they’re making common cause with racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, Islamophobic extremists, they might just choose to leave the dark side and come over to ours.

      Also, it’s about time the media paid some attention to Trump’s crazies; this statement by Clinton may well cause them to do so.

      It’s worth a shot; I can’t see it causing her to lose any votes, certainly not from those in the basket.

      • dduck

        BM said: When they realize they’re making common cause with racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, Islamophobic extremists, they might just choose to leave the dark side and come over to ours.”
        Best laugh I had today, thanks.

      • SteveK

        ditto / * * * * *

        • SteveK

          To clarify – My previous ‘ditto / * * * * *’ comment meant for Bob Munck.

        • SteveK

          For clarity, ‘ditto / * * * * *’ was to Bob Munck’s last comment.

      • …that works if those Trump voters understand they are the people she is not talking about 🙂
        otherwise they solidify under attack.

    • dduck

      SL, to show she has moxie.
      Of course backing off shows you don’t LOL.