- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 10, 2016

Hillary Clinton attempted Saturday to walk back her remark that half of Donald Trump’s supporters are sexist, racist and homophobic and “irredeemable,” saying she regretted saying “half.”

“Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that’s never a good idea. I regret saying ‘half’ — that was wrong,” Mrs. Clinton said in a statement.

Her remarks Friday night at a fundraising event in New York drew sharp criticism from the Republican nominee and his running mate, Mike Pence, who said it revealed her disdain for the American people.

Still, Mrs. Clinton in the statement said that she stood by her criticism that the Republican nominee appealed to the worst of America. She said he built his campaign on “prejudice and paranoia.”

“But let’s be clear, what’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,” said Mrs. Clinton.

“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,” she said.

Mr. Trump countered that Mrs. Clinton’s response is “disgraceful.”

“Instead of owning up to this grotesque attack on American voters, she tries to turn it around with a pathetic rehash of the words and insults used in her failing campaign?” Mr. Trump said. “For the first time in a long while, her true feelings came out, showing bigotry and hatred for millions of Americans.”

Mr. Trump asked how she could be president “when she has such contempt and disdain for so many great Americans?”

At the New York event with with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) supporters, she said that she grouped Mr. Trump’s sexist, racist and homophobic supporters in a “basket of deplorables.”

The remark was an attempt to explain Mr. Trump’s support, which has him running neck-and-neck with Mrs. Clinton 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,” she said at the New York event. “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.

The remarks in front of the LGBT crowd 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 aligned with the nationalistic Alt Right movement and white supremacists.

Attempting to walk back the attack, she stressed in the statement that not all of Mr. Trump’s supporters belonged in the same basket.

“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. Because we really are ‘stronger together,” said Mrs. Clinton.

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Seth McLaughlin contributed to this report.

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