Hillary Clinton regrets calling Trump backers ‘deplorable’
Seeking to put behind her what is turning out to be the worst misstep of her campaign for the White House yet, the Democratic presidential candidate said she was wrong to be ‘grossly generalistic’ about her rival’s supporters.world Updated: Sep 11, 2016 23:11 IST
Seeking to put behind her what is turning out to be the worst misstep of her campaign for the White House yet, Hillary Clinton on Saturday expressed regret for saying Donald Trump’s supporters belonged in a “basket of deplorables”.
“Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that’s never a good idea. I regret saying ‘half’ — that was wrong,” Clinton said in a statement, adding, “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.”
The “major advocate” was a reference to Steven Bannon, Trump’s campaign chief executive; and Duke is a former member of the racist Ku Klux Klan, whose support Trumps was slow to repudiate.
At a fundraiser in New York on Friday, Clinton had said, “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.”
Trump hit back in a tweet on Saturday: “Wow, Hillary Clinton was SO INSULTING to my supporters, millions of amazing, hard working people. I think it will cost her at the Polls!” Though Trump himself never apologizes — he hasn’t yet for insulting Khizr and Ghazala Khan, parents of a fallen Muslim soldier — but his campaign demanded an apology from Clinton.
The Democratic nominee did, eventually.
But not before critics began comparing her remarks to campaign-defining low moments from earlier races — such as Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s dissing of 47% of Americans who, he said during his 2012 campaign, didn’t pay taxes, felt entitled to state support and won’t vote for him.
Clinton, who has a reputation for being scripted and rehearsed in her public appearances, hadn’t had this kind of a stumble yet, compared to a trail of those left behind by her rival Trump.