Clinton dubs half of Trump's supporters 'deplorables'
US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has apologized for having been "grossly generalistic" in her remarks about Trump supporters. Earlier, she had slammed intolerance among some supporters of her Republican rival.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lit up Twitter after saying half of her Republican counterpart's supporters could be classed as "deplorables," referring to the Donald Trump backers who harbor hateful attitudes towards other groups.
Speaking at a LGBT fundraiser in New York City Friday night, Clinton told the 1,000 attendees: "To just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic - you name it," she said.
Trump seized on this part of Clinton's comment, lighting into her on Twitter.
But Clinton, who was referring to right-wing extremist groups, wasn't finished.
"And unfortunately there are people like that," Clinton said. "And [Trump] has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people - now how 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks - they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America."
Empathy for those struggling
Clinton then pivoted and put the other half of Trump's supporters in "that other basket" - people who needed understanding and empathy.
The Democratic candidate described them as "people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they're just desperate for change."
She continued by saying that they "don't buy everything [Trump] says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won't wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they're in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well."
Later on Saturday, Clinton made a partial apology for her "deplorables" comment, saying it was "grossly generalistic" and adding that "that's never a good idea."
In a statement, she reiterated 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."
However, she insisted that it was "really deplorable" that Trump was affiliated with certain far-right elements, with "David Duke and other white supremacists [seeing] him as a champion of their values."
It would seem that this would be a one-day story, but Trump and his staff are milking it as best they can.
"What's truly deplorable isn't just that Hillary Clinton made an inexcusable mistake in front of wealthy donors and … 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.
Trump himself has openly and repeatedly expressed his hostility towards a majority of Americans, including women, Latinos and Muslims.
Clinton ended her fundraiser by urging supporters, with a hint of humor, to stay engaged.
"At the very least, if you know anyone who is thinking about voting for Trump, stage an intervention," Clinton joked. "Friends don't let friends vote for Trump."