Clinton's 'Deplorables' Comment Show Disdain for Working People, Trump Camp Says
Clinton's comment shows disdain for working people, Trump campaign says.
— -- Hillary Clinton's comments at a star-studded fundraiser in New York City that half of Donald Trump's supporters are a "basket of deplorables" are getting slammed by the Trump campaign as a sign of "how little she thinks of the hard-working men and women of America."
GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence told a forum of social conservatives Saturday that Clinton's comments display a lack of respect for the millions of people who support Donald Trump for president.
Trump's supporters "are not a 'basket' of anything," Pence said at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. "The truth of the matter is that the men and women who support Donald Trump's campaign are hard-working Americans, farmers, coal miners, teachers, veterans, members of our law enforcement community, members of every class of this country who know that we can make America great again," he said.
"They are Americans and they deserve your respect," Pence added, as if addressing Clinton directly.
Trump himself wrote on Twitter on Saturday that Clinton "was so insulting to my supporters" and that her comments "will cost her at the polls."
The Trump campaign's senior communication adviser, Jason Miller, said Clinton's remarks told "the American public that she could care less about them."
"Tonight's comments were more than another example of Clinton lying to the country about her emails, jeopardizing our national security, or even calling citizens 'super-predators,'" Miller said in a statement late Friday. "This was Clinton, as a defender of Washington’s rigged system –- telling the American public that she could care less about them."
Miller added, "What's truly deplorable isn't just that Hillary Clinton made an inexcusable mistake in front of wealthy donors and reporters happened to be around to catch it, it's that Clinton revealed just how little she thinks of the hard-working men and women of America."
Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway slammed Clinton on Twitter for "placing people in 'baskets'" and insulting "millions of Americans."
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus also released a scathing statement, saying the "truly deplorable thing" is how Clinton insults her fellow Americans.
"By referring to millions of Americans as 'deplorables' and 'irredeemable,' Hillary Clinton is showing her outright contempt for ordinary people and proving yet again why Americans overwhelmingly regard her as dishonest and untrustworthy," Priebus said. "The truly deplorable thing in this race is the shameful level of condescension and disrespect Hillary Clinton is showing to her fellow citizens."
Clinton made the comment Friday night at the LGBT For Hillary Gala, at which Barbra Streisand and Rufus Wainwright performed.
"To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call 'the basket of deplorables.' Right?" the Democratic presidential nominee told donors at the event. "Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, 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 offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric."
She added: "Now some of those folks, they are irredeemable. But they are not America."
Clinton said Trump's other supporters "are people who feel 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."
In a nod to the LGBT-focused event, Clinton also made a tongue-and-cheek reference to "conversion therapy" -- but not in the context of "converting" LGBT individuals to heterosexuality, which has been slammed as nonsense by the country's leading professional medical and psychological organizations.
"We can't take anyone or any place for granted and therefore I am asking you to volunteer for a phone bank or a canvass," she told the audience at Cipriani Wall Street in Manhattan's financial district. "At the very least, if you know anybody who's even thinking of voting for Trump, stage an intervention. That may be one conversion therapy I endorse. Just remember: friends don't let friends vote for Trump."
Clinton stopped short of an apology in a statement issued Saturday afternoon, in which she admitted it wasn't a good idea to be "grossly generalistic" and said she regrets saying "half."
"Last night I was 'grossly generalistic,' and that's never a good idea. I regret saying 'half' -- that was wrong. 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," she said. "So I won't stop calling out bigotry and racist rhetoric in this campaign."
Clinton's campaign spokesman Nick Merrill downplayed the former secretary of state's "deplorables" comment, tweeting that she was referring solely to "alt right" supporters.
"She gave an entire speech about how the alt right movement is using his campaign to advance its hate movement," Merrill wrote in a series of tweets Friday night. "Obviously not everyone supporting Trump is part of the alt right, but alt right leaders are with Trump."
Trump's campaign manager was quick to respond to Merrill's tweets.
"Nick, it's simply untrue. Come to an event; talk to real people who aren't donors. Or better: have Hillary apologize," Conway wrote in a Twitter exchange with Clinton's spokesman Saturday morning.
And not surprisingly, Clinton's "deplorables" comment didn't sit well with others who back the Republican presidential nominee. By 9:30 a.m. EDT Saturday, the hashtag #BasketOfDeplorables produced 158,000 tweets since Clinton made the remarks.
Another highlight of the fundraiser Friday night was when Streisand performed a parody of the Stephen Sondheim song "Send in the Clowns" with lyrics about Trump.
"Is he that rich, maybe he's poor, 'til he reveals his returns, who can be sure?" Streisand sang. "Something's amiss, I don't approve, if he were running the free world, where would we move?"
She continued, "And if by chance he gets to heaven, even up there, he'll declare chapter 11. This sad, vulgar clown. You're fired, you clown."
ABC News' Liz Kreutz, Candace Smith, Corinne Cathcart and Cecilia Vega contributed to this report.