Hillary Clinton’s claim that half of Donald Trump’s supporters are a “basket of deplorables” (i.e., racists, sexists, etc.) and are “not America,” as noted by Scott earlier today, spurred outrage from Republicans. Trump himself tweeted appropriately:
While Hillary said horrible things about my supporters, and while many of her supporters will never vote for me, I still respect them all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2016
Clinton’s surrogates defended her comments–which she actually made twice, first to an Israeli news outlet and then in a fundraiser in New York–vigorously. But a little while ago, Clinton decided to back off from her assertion that half of Trump’s voters are beyond the pale:
Hillary Clinton expressed “regret” Saturday for comments in which she said “half” of Donald Trump’s supporters are “deplorables,” meaning people who are racist, sexist, homophobic or xenophobic.
“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.
You could say it was a non-apology apology. Apparently Clinton’s only concession is that she may have been off on the percentage. Perhaps only 40% of Trump’s supporters are bigots.
A senior Democrat close to the campaign told CNN it wants to have a conversation about what it sees as the racism in Trump’s campaign, but could not have that part of the conversation until Clinton backed away from the “half” comment.
I doubt that this incident will have much effect on the campaign. Many millions of Americans are tired of being smeared as racists and xenophobes, but they are pretty much all voting for Trump already.