Hillary Clinton on Sunday expressed “regret” for calling half of Donald Trump’s supporters “deplorable” people but promised to keep fighting “bigotry and racist rhetoric” by her Republican rival as the presidential campaign got shriller ahead of the D-day.
“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 in which she also vowed to call out “bigotry” in Trump’s campaign.
The 68-year-old Democratic presidential nominee had sparked an uproar on Friday when she described Trump’s supporters at a fundraiser.
“To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables,” Clinton said. “Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.”
She added, “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.”
Clinton then said some of these people were “irredeemable” and “not America.” She described the rest of his supporters as people who are looking for change in any form because of economic anxiety and urged her supporters to empathise with them.
In her statement, Clinton was emphatic in condemning what she said was Trump’s racially insensitive campaign ahead of the November 8 presidential poll.
She listed a series of controversial moments from Trump’s campaign, including his fight with a Muslim Gold Star family, criticism of a federal US judge of Mexican heritage and his insinuation that President Barrack Obama wasn’t born in the US.
“I won’t stop calling out bigotry and racist rhetoric in this campaign,” Clinton said. She also noted her comments about empathising with other Trump supporters. “As I said, many of Trump’s supporters are hard-working Americans who just don’t feel like the economy or our political system are working for them,” Clinton said. “I’m determined to bring our country together and make our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top. Because we really are ‘stronger together.’”