Hillary Clinton says she regrets her “basket of deplorables” comment that she made Friday night. The Democratic nominee was speaking at a gala for the group, LGBT for Hillary, at Cipriani Wall Street. The gathering featured guests like Barbara Streisand.
The former Secretary of State said that she believes that at least 50 percent of those backing her opponent real estate mogul Donald Trump are racist. Mrs. Clinton stated:
“..half of Trump’s supporters can be placed in a basket of deplorables, meaning that they are racist, homophobic or xenophobic.”
Like President Obama‘s “cling to guns or religion” 2008 remark, and Mitt Romney‘s “47 percent” comment in 2012, Clinton’s statement went viral. In a matter of minutes, Trump and an extensive list of his surrogates seized on the controversial statement. Trump, who has declined to apologize for many of his own “gaffes,” has demanded an apology from Clinton. The Republican nominee tweeted his response:
“Wow, Hillary Clinton was SO INSULTING to my supporters, millions of amazing, hard working people. I think it will cost her at the Polls!”
Saturday, Clinton said she regretted the usage of the term and doubled down on the belief that Trump has supporters that are part of the alt-right movement, and they hold deplorable views. She said:
“Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that’s never a good idea. I regret saying ‘half’ — that was wrong.”
She went on to enumerate the gaffes Trump has made in the past. She stated:
“But let’s be clear.[W]hat’s really ‘deplorable’ is that Donald Trump hired a major advocate for the so-called ‘alt-right’ movement to run his campaign and that 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. I won’t stop calling out bigotry and racist rhetoric in this campaign,” she went on, but she offered an olive branch of sorts to downscale Trump voters. “I also meant what I said last night about empathy, and the very real challenges we face as a country where so many people have been left out and left behind. 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. I’m determined to bring our country together and make our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top.”
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway also jumped in the fight. She said on social media:
“Come to an event; talk to real people who aren’t donors. Or better: have Hillary apologize.”
Trump’s running mate Mike Pence also took a shot at Clinton during an appearance at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. He stated:
“She referred to those people as ‘irredeemable. Well I will tell you right now, I campaign on a regular basis with Donald Trump. I campaign all across this country for Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton’s low opinion of the people who support this campaign should be denounced in the strongest possible terms.”
Experts believe the media exaggerates the effects of those gaffes on the electorate.