Half of Donald Trump's supporters fall into a "basket of deplorables," according to Hillary Clinton.
"You know, just to be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables," Clinton said at an LGBT-centered fundraiser hosted by actor and singer Barbara Streisand. "The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up."
The other half of his backers, according to the Democratic candidate, are voters struggling to trust the government who have found a glimmer of hope in Trump.
"That other basket of people are 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 a change," she contended. "They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well."
Nick Merrill, Clinton's traveling press secretary, took to Twitter late Friday night to defend his boss's bold comments, citing the former secretary of state's speech about the so-called alt-right earlier this month. In the address, Clinton tried to tie Trump to the fringe group that often peddles anti-immigrant, white nationalist rhetoric.
(3/3) And their supporters appear to make up half his crowd when you observe the tone of his events.— Nick Merrill (@NickMerrill) September 10, 2016
But it didn't take long for observers to link Clinton's statement to when then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney essentially dismissed half of the American electorate during the 2012 election, arguing they will vote for President Barack Obama "no matter what."
Political pollster Frank Luntz said Clinton's Friday remarks could be "her '47 percent' moment," even suggesting the moment could be seen as a "turning point" in the election if Trump wins in the fall.
If Trump continues his upward climb in polls and wins on November 8th, tonight will be seen as the turning point of the race. #Deplorables— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) September 10, 2016
"Hillary Clinton just insulted millions of hard-working Americans simply because they don't want to vote for her," Luntz wrote.
Looking back on his 2012 statement, Romney told Fox News' Chris Wallace in 2013 that the statement did hurt his campaign.
"There's no question that hurt and did real damage to my campaign," he said.
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