BALTIMORE — Donald Trump used a speech here Monday afternoon to launch some of his sharpest attacks yet against Hillary Clinton over her recent comment labeling half of his supporters a "basket of deplorables."
The Republican presidential nominee called his Democratic rival's remark perhaps the "most explicit attack" against voters ever lobbed by a major party nominee. He said that if she "will not retract her comments in full, I don't see how she can credibly campaign any further."
Trump said Clinton's remark "disqualifies" her from being president. "We have the support of cops, soldiers, carpenters and welders, the young and the old," he said. "These were the people Hillary Clinton viciously demonized."
Trump spoke at a conference of the National Guard Association of the United States. Earlier in the day he mentioned Clinton's remarks in an interview with Fox News. He also released a television ad singling out Clinton's comment.
In Baltimore, Trump said that if he is president, the National Guard "will always have a direct line to the Oval Office."
At a Friday fundraiser in New York, Clinton said: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables.’ Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it.”
She said in a statement the next day that she regretted using the word “half” to describe the Trump supporters. She added: "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.”
Trump is embarking on a busy campaign schedule this week. He will hold a rally in Asheville, N.C., on Monday evening, marking his second stop in the key battleground state in two weeks.
While Trump has in the past questioned Clinton's "strength" and "stamina" to be president, he did not comment on the news about Clinton's health. Clinton fell ill during a 9/11 memorial service on Sunday. A statement from her doctor said she was recently diagnosed with pneumonia.