Over the weekend, Hillary Clinton walked back comments she made last Friday at an “LGBT for Hillary” fundraiser when she called half of Donald Trump’s supporters “deplorable.”
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.
— Hillary Clinton – CNN
Clinton says she was “grossly generalistic”
Clinton received widespread criticism for her remarks, and on Saturday issued a clarification that said, “Last night I was 'grossly generalistic,' and that's never a good idea. I regret saying 'half' -- that was wrong.” At the same time, Clinton vowed to call out “bigotry” in the Trump campaign when she saw it.
Comparison to Mitt Romney ’47 percent’ comment in 2012
Mrs. Clinton’s comments drew comparisons from some as having the potential to be as damaging as Mitt Romney’s “47%” remark in 2012. Mr. Romney was speaking at a closed-door fundraiser when he described 47% of voters as those “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”
Whether or not Mrs. Clinton damaged her campaign is yet to be determined. The fact that she quickly walked back the statement suggests that there is some concern in the Clinton camp that the statement is potentially damaging. Trump is supported by roughly 40 percent of the electorate, which translates into Clinton claiming that 20 percent of the public is prejudiced against minorities, gays, and Muslims.
Clinton’s remarks already fit into her narrative that some of Trump’s supporters are “racist, sexists and homophobes.” What makes this different is the use of the word “half,” which may cause a wider backlash than when she used the word “some” in her earlier comments.
Trump supporters feel let down by the government
Mrs. Clinton went on to describe the other half of Trump supporters as individuals who feel let down by the government and the economy.
Many of Trump’s supporters are hard-working Americans who just don’t feel like the economy or our political system is working for them.
— Hillary Clinton
Trump’s campaign was quick to highlight Clinton’s comments. Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said he was “simply taken aback,” by Clinton’s statement and added that anyone “who has that low an opinion of millions of Americans should never be elected president of the United States.”