Hillary Clinton said Friday night that half of Donald Trump’s supporters are sexist, racist and homophobic, writing off roughly a quarter of the American population as “irredeemable.”
At a fundraiser in New York, Mrs. Clinton attempted to explain the support for Mr. Trump, who is running neck-and-neck with her in some recent polls.
“To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it,” the Democratic nominee said at an event with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) supporters.
“Unfortunately, there are people like that and he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people, now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric,” she said. “Now some of those folks, they are irredeemable, but they are not America.”
Mrs. Clinton reportedly had planned to steer her campaign away from personal attacks and focus on presenting herself in a serious, statesmanlike manner.
The remarks echoed Mrs. Clinton’s previous dismissals of the people who support the Republican nominee, but this time she put a number on it. Previously, she confined her attacks on Trump supporters to those she described as aligned with the nationalistic Alt Right movement and white supremacists.
Mrs. Clinton and her allies, however, have frequently tarred Mr. Trump with accusations of bigotry, sexism, homophobia and Islamophobia.
At the fundraiser, Mrs. Clinton said the “other basket” of Trump supporters are people who feel let down by the government, the economy and feel that “nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures. They are just desperate for change.”
“They don’t buy everything he says but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different,” she said.
The Trump campaign responded by saying Mrs. Clinton had revealed her true self.
“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 campaign spokesman Jason Miller said in a statement.
“Tonight’s comments were more than another example of Clinton lying to the country about her emails, jeopardizing our national security, or even calling citizens ‘super-predators’ — this was Clinton, as a defender of Washington’s rigged system – telling the American public that she could care less about them,” he said. “And 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.”