Hillary Clinton on Saturday walked back comments that half of Trump's supports could be 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 on Saturday.
At an LGBTQ fundraiser on Friday, Clinton said “you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables."
The comment and subsequent "regret" lead to the question: Are you ready for the homestretch of the 2016 campaign? Because here we go! Strap in your seatbelt and get ready as we'll likely be hearing about these comments for the next 58 days. (But who's counting? Oh that's right, everyone is watching this election with bated breath.)
The comment drew laughs from the crowd, and she continued by saying these supporters are “the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it. And 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 their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric.”
The comments were made at a gala for a group called LGBT for Hillary at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
Clinton said these people are “irredeemable” but said the other half of his supporters who re 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.”
Since this is 2016, #BasketOfDeplorables was trending on Twitter by Saturday morning.
Trump responded with a tweet on Saturday, calling Clinton’s comments “insulting” the voters.
Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, demanded Clinton apologize.
Clinton’s comments drew immediate (and somewhat strange) comparisons to other off-the-cuff remarks by candidates. Breitbart.com, the champion of the alt-right, is already gleefully comparing Clinton’s to Mitt Romney’s infamous 47% comment, which was also made at a fundraiser. Since Romney is a Republican who had the support of Breitbart (which downplayed the comment at the time), this comparison seems a bit odd.
In 2008, Obama said voters “cling to guns and religion,” a comment that caused many to paint him as an elitist. Of course, Obama won that election (and the primary campaign against Clinton), so saying these comments will hurt Clinton similarly seems a bit … not in conjunction with what actually happened.
Although Clinton’s comments were heard ‘round the Internet on Friday night, it’s still unknown what the effect on the general election will be. While pundits and election watchers said Friday and Saturday that she had alienated voters, it’s unclear exactly who this will affect. As Philip Bump writes in The Washington Post, there are scores of Trump votes who already hate Clinton no matter what she says, and others who fall into the “racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic” category that she is describing. So no love lost there.
On the flip side, undecided voters could realize they don’t want to be classified along with this type of Trump supporter and vote for Clinton. Clinton gave a much-lauded speech two weeks ago denouncing the “alt-right,” which she classified as being the same type of voters she allegedly could alienate in Friday’s comments.
Additionally, according to a Real Clear Politics poll on Aug. 31, only 14 percent of the electorate is undecided—meaning the amount of voters she could potentially alienate is fairly small.
But that never stopped the pundits and election watchers from speculating before, has it? Fifty-eight days to go!