Hillary Clinton was on cleanup duty Saturday after saying at a fundraiser the previous night that half of Donald Trump’s supporters, which numbered 13.3 million in the Republican primaries, fall into the “basket of deplorables.”
“Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that’s never a good idea,” she said in a statement. “I regret saying ‘half’ — that was wrong.”
She went on to say that “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.” Still, Clinton said she won’t stop “calling out bigotry and racist rhetoric in this campaign.”
She had been speaking at an LGBT event in New York on Friday when she made the apparent gaffe.
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” she told the crowd, which reacted with laughter and applause. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that.
“And he has lifted them up,” Clinton continued. “He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric.”
The remarks sent the Trump camp into full attack mode, with campaign spokesman Jason Miller quickly issuing a statement saying Clinton’s comments are what’s deplorable.
“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,” he said.
Wow, Hillary Clinton was SO INSULTING to my supporters, millions of amazing, hard working people. I think it will cost her at the Polls!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2016
Trump’s vice presidential running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who spoke at a conservative Value Voters Summit in Washington, D.C., Saturday, also took issue with Clinton saying millions fall into the deplorable basket.
“They are Americans, and they deserve your respect,” he tweeted. “No one with that low of an opinion of the American people should ever be elected to the highest office in the land.”
Clinton’s campaign pointed out late Friday that she has spoken at length about the “alt-right” movement and how its members are using Trump’s campaign to advance an agenda of hate.
“Obviously not everyone supporting Trump is part of the alt right, but alt right leaders are with Trump,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill tweeted. “And their supporters appear to make up half his crowd when you observe the tone of his events.”
But #BasketOfDeplorables quickly lit up Twitter on Saturday — and the campaign, spurring Clinton’s mea culpa — with both sides weighing in with some clever snark and more than a few epic burns.
Many racist Trump supporters were stung by Clinton's speech calling them a "basket of deplorables." The rest had to go look up "deplorable."
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) September 10, 2016
Hillary shows contempt for people in her "basket". I think she blew a gasket. Her campaign headed for a casket.
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) September 10, 2016
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) September 10, 2016
— Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) September 10, 2016
Clinton apologizes for "deplorable" comment, but bashes "alt-right" yet again. She's on the ropes now.
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) September 10, 2016