Clinton Calls Some Trump Supporters ‘Basket of Deplorables’

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Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks on Sept. 9, 2016, in New York City

Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Barbra Streisand mocks Trump in parody song at fundraiser
  • Clinton made remarks at New York City fundraiser event

Hillary Clinton said some of Donald Trump’s supporters could be classified as a “basket of deplorables,” language that inflamed his Republican allies who said her remark was demeaning to voters.

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, said at a campaign fundraiser Friday at the New York restaurant Cipriani Wall Street. "The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic –- you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up."

State Hillary Clinton during the LGBT for Hillary Gala on Sept. 9.
State Hillary Clinton during the LGBT for Hillary Gala on Sept. 9.
Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Clinton’s fundraisers have typically been closed to the press but a pool of journalists was permitted to hear her remarks. Tickets, targeted at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender supporters, ranged from $1,200 for a standard seat to $250,000 or more to be listed as a host. The fundraiser drew a sold-out crowd of 1,000, her campaign said.

Clinton’s "basket of deplorables" remark was met by laughter from her audience, and she went on to describe other Trump supporters 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."

But Republicans sensed a gaffe.

“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 spokesman Jason Miller said in a statement.

‘47 Percent’ Comparison

Republican pollster Frank Luntz described Clinton’s comments as her “47 percent moment,” a reference to Republican Mitt Romney’s remarks at a private fundraiser in the 2012 campaign. Romney said then that about "47 percent" of voters would choose to return Barack Obama to the White House because they are dependent upon government. These people “pay no income tax” he said, at the time. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility” for their lives.

"Hillary Clinton just insulted millions of hard-working Americans simply because they don’t want to vote for her," Luntz tweeted after Clinton’s comments swept social media.

Trump agreed.

"Wow, Hillary Clinton was SO INSULTING to my supporters, millions of amazing, hard working people. I think it will cost her at the Polls!" Trump tweeted on Saturday morning.

Clinton said at the event that some of Trump’s "deplorable" supporters "are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America." His other supporters, she said, could be open to persuasion.

“If you know anybody who’s even thinking about voting for Trump, stage an intervention,” she told the crowd, after mentioning her opposition to gay-conversion therapy. Persuading people not to vote for Trump “may be one conversion therapy I endorse,” Clinton said.


Streisand Support

The Clinton campaign later sought to explain her "basket of deplorables" remark, saying she was referring to people who actively back Trump, such as donors, endorsers and people at his rallies, not everyone who plans to vote for the Republican. People who align themselves with the white nationalist "alt-right" movement "appear to make up half his crowd when you observe the tone of his events," spokesman Nick Merrill said on Twitter.

Barbra Streisand headlined the entertainment at the fundraiser, riffing with a parody of "Send in the Clowns" by Stephen Sondheim that poked fun at Trump.

“Is he that rich? Maybe he’s poor? ’Til he reveals his returns who can be sure?” the 74-year-old crooned. “Who needs this clown?”

Streisand also offered some praise of Clinton.

“Hillary’s kind … smart, that’s clear,” she said. “While she is giving us hope, Trump is selling us fear. Look how he changes his views every time that he speaks. It’s lie after lie. Can’t take eight more weeks!”

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