Hillary Clinton said Friday that “half” of Donald Trump’s supporters could be grouped in “the basket of deplorables” at a fundraising event in New York City.
“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 said to applause and laughter from the crowd of supporters at an LGBT for Hillary fundraiser where Barbra Streisand performed. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.”
“And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up,” she added.
Clinton then noted, as she has several times in the past, that Trump has “given voice” to white supremacist and anti-Semitic voices on the Internet.
“He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric,” Clinton said. “Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”
On Saturday morning, Trump weighed in on Clinton's comments, calling them "so insulting" to his supporters.
"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 wrote.
Later in her remarks, Clinton called for empathy for the “other half” of Trump’s supporters who feel left behind by the government and the economy.
“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 change,” Clinton said. “It doesn't really even matter where it comes from. 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,” Clinton said. “Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”
The response from Trump's campaign came swiftly from campaign manager Kellyanne Conway who accused Clinton of "slandering" Trump's supporters.
In a statement from the campaign later, spokesman Jason Miller called the statement "deplorable."
“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," Miller said. "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’ – this was Clinton, as a defender of Washington’s rigged system – telling the American public that she could care less about them."
"And 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," he added.
In a series of tweets, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill responded to criticism that emerged online in response to Clinton's comments.
"She gave an entire speech about how the alt right movement is using his campaign to advance its hate movement," Merrill wrote. "Obviously not everyone supporting Trump is part of the alt right, but alt right leaders are with Trump."
"And their supporters appear to make up half his crowd when you observe the tone of his events," he added.
This post has been updated.