| NEW YORK, Sept 10
NEW YORK, Sept 10 Democratic presidential
nominee Hillary Clinton said on Friday that half the supporters
of her Republican rival Donald Trump belonged in a "basket of
deplorables" of people who were racist, homophobic, sexist,
xenophobic, or Islamophobic.
Speaking at an evening fundraiser in New York, the former
U.S. secretary of state said Trump had given voice to hateful
rhetoric from such individuals through his behavior as a
candidate for the White House.
"To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of
Trump's supporters into what I call the 'basket of
deplorables,'" Clinton said. "Unfortunately there are people
like that. And he has lifted them up."
Some of those people were irredeemable, she said, but they
did not represent America.
The other basket of Trump's supporters constituted
individuals desperate for change who felt let down by the
government and the economy, Clinton added.
"They don't buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out
some hope that their lives will be different," Clinton said.
"Those are people we have to understand and empathize with, as
Clinton's comments drew a rebuke from Kellyanne Conway, the
campaign manager of the Republican nominee, who said in a
message on social media network Twitter that Clinton had
insulted millions of Americans.
Many of Clinton's fundraisers have been closed to the media,
but her Friday remarks, preceding a performance by singer Barbra
Streisand, were open to journalists.
"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," Trump senior communications adviser Jason
Miller said in a statement.
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill noted a previous speech in
which she accused Trump of embracing a brand of U.S. political
conservatism associated with white nationalism and nativism
known as the "alt right" movement.
"Obviously not everyone supporting Trump is part of the alt
right, but alt right leaders are with Trump," Merrill said on
Twitter. "And their supporters appear to make up half his crowd,
when you observe the tone of his events."
Clinton's comments were followed by a concert by Streisand,
who performed a version of the Stephen Sondheim song "Send in
the Clowns" that parodied the New York businessman.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)