By Bonnie K. Goodman
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has done the perennial mistake of insulting a segment of the electorate. On Friday evening, Sept. 9, 2016, Clinton spoke at a fundraiser gala hosted by LGBT For Hillary in New York City where she called half of Republican nominee Donald Trump’s supporters a ‘Basket of Deplorables’ with ‘Hateful’ views.
The LGBT For Hillary Gala was full of donors who were entertained by Clinton supporters Barbra Streisand and Rufus Wainwright. At the event, Clinton addressed her supporters, and as usual, she attacked her opponent Trump, this time, however, she went after the electorate. Clinton decided it would be a good idea to go after his supporters. The Democratic nominee went after them, saying, “To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call ‘the basket of deplorables.’ Right?”
Continuing she used almost every name in the book to insult the Republicans supporting Trump, calling them, “Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it. 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.”
Further alienating that segment of the population, Clinton said, “Now some of those folks, they are irredeemable. But they are not America.” Still, Clinton tried to win over some of the GOP nominee’s supporters, who she believes are just disgruntled. Clinton said, “That other basket of people are people who feel 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.”
Trump’s campaign did not take Clinton’s insults very well and went after the Democratic nominee. Trump campaign’s senior communication adviser, Jason Miller, released a statement which read, “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.'”
Miller said Clinton’s comments were hypocritical of her message, saying. “This was Clinton, as a defender of Washington’s rigged system – telling the American public that she could care less about them.” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway tweeted a similar message, writing, “One day after promising to be aspirational & uplifting, Hillary insults millions of Americans. #desperate.”
Trump also tweeted on Saturday morning his shock at Clinton’s remarks, writing, “Wow, Hillary Clinton was SO INSULTING to my supporters, millions of amazing, hard working people. I think it will cost her at the Polls!”
On Saturday, Trump’s vice presidential running mate condemned Clinton’s tirade, “in the strongest possible terms when he addressed the crowd at Values Voter Summit in Washington. Pence indicated, “The truth of the matter is that the men and women who support Donald Trump’s campaign are hard-working Americans, farmers, coal miners, teachers, veterans, members of our law enforcement community, members of every class of this country, who know that we can make America great again.” Concluding the Indiana Governor said, “Let me just say, from the bottom of my heart, Hillary, they are not a basket of anything. They are Americans, and they deserve your respect.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus also issued a statement attacking Clinton’s insults. Priebus said, “By referring to millions of Americans as ‘deplorables’ and ‘irredeemable,’ Hillary Clinton is showing her outright contempt for ordinary people and proving yet again why Americans overwhelmingly regard her as dishonest and untrustworthy. Insulting everyday Americans to a group of wealthy donors shows whose priorities Clinton really has in mind and exposes the hypocrisy of a candidate whose stated desire to unite the country is clearly all for show.”
Miller in his statement also pointed out Clinton’s error in insulting in a forum with the media present. Miller said, “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.”
Miller’s comments invoked 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, who privately insulted “47 percent” of the population at a private fundraiser and paid the price, he lost the election mostly because he offended a large segment of the electorate. The video was privately recorded at a fundraiser and was never supposed to see the light of day. Romney later denied his remarks were derogatory to the segment of the population he was referring to, saying, “As it turned out, down the road, it became perceived as being something very different.”
Romney comments in 2012 were considered the quote of the year. The 2012 nominee said, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it — that that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax. … [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Trump advisor Sarah Huckabee tweeted that Clinton’s comments disqualify her from the presidency. Huckabee, the “daughter of former Republican presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee,” said, “Romney’s 47% comment was bad. Hillary calling tens of millions of American men & women “deplorable” is inexcusable and disqualifying #MAGA” While, Trump retweeted President Barack Obama’s tweet from 2012 attacking Romney’s comments. The tweet from Sept. 18 said, “RT if you agree: We need a President who is fighting for all Americans, not one who writes off nearly half the country.”
President Obama made a similar insult to Republicans during the 2008 primary campaign, where he in front of supporters at a fundraiser he insulted small-town Republican Pennsylvanian voters and those in the mid-west. Obama said, “It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Although Obama caused a controversy, he still managed to escape unscathed from his remarks. Obama’s comments were similar to Clinton as yet again a Democrat called Republican voters xenophobic.
Clinton’s campaign spokesman Nick Merrill tried to emphasize Clinton was only referring to “alt right” supporters. Merril tweeted, “She gave an entire speech about how the alt right movement is using his campaign to advance its hate movement.” The alt-right does not represent nearly 20 percent of American voters, and half of registered Republicans to which Clinton was speaking.