Why Media Shouldn’t Fall For GOP Attempts To Scandalize Clinton’s “Basket Of Deplorables” Remarks

Republicans are attempting to scandalize Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s remarks that “to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of [Republican nominee Donald] Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables,” referring to people with bigoted views whom Trump has uplifted. But her remarks are backed by polls finding that significant numbers of Trump supporters hold such deplorable views. Further, there have been numerous instances of racism and sexism at Trump rallies; Trump has successfully courted the racist white nationalist/”alt-right” movement, and Trump’s own campaign manager once referred to his supporters as “downright nasty.”

Clinton Spoke About “Basket Of Deplorables” During September 9 Event                                   

Clinton Explains Why “You Could Put Half Of Trump’s Supporters Into What I Call The Basket Of Deplorables.” Clinton’s remarks came during a September 9 fundraiser and were transcribed for a pool report. Clinton stated:

I know there are only 60 days left to make our case — and don’t get complacent, don’t see the latest outrageous, offensive, inappropriate comment and think well he’s done this time. We are living in a volatile political environment. 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, 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 how 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America. But the other basket — and I know this because I see friends from all over America here — I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas — as well as, you know, New York and California — but 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. 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 heroine, feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well. [Time, 9/10/16]

Clinton Spokesperson: “Alt Right Leaders Are With Trump,” “Their Supporters Appear To Make Up Half His Crowd.” Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill noted on Twitter that “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.” [Twitter.com, 9/9/16]

Trump Campaign Is Heavily Attacking Clinton Over Remarks And Demanding An Apology. Politico reported:

Donald Trump’s campaign is demanding an apology for comments Hillary Clinton made at a fundraising event Friday in New York City, where she said half of his supporters belonged in a “basket of deplorables” — “the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.“

The Republican nominee tweeted Saturday morning: “Wow, Hillary Clinton was SO INSULTING to my supporters, millions of amazing, hard working people. I think it will cost her at the Polls!”

“Come to an event; talk to real people who aren't donors,” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway wrote in a Twitter exchange with Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill earlier Saturday morning. “Or better: have Hillary apologize.”


In a statement later released by the Trump campaign, senior communications adviser Jason Miller said Clinton's comments “revealed her true contempt for everyday Americans.” [Politico, 9/9/16]

Wash. Post: Republicans Think Clinton Made Her Own “‘47%’ Gaffe.” The Washington Post wrote that “Republicans instantly cried foul. Donald Trump tweeted about it Saturday morning. And many are likening it to Mitt Romney's much-talked-about ‘47 percent’ comment from the 2012 campaign -- a comment to which some attributed Romney's loss.” [The Washington Post, 9/10/16]

Numerous Polls Show That Significant Portion Of Trump Supporters Hold Deplorable Views

Reuters/Ipsos: “Trump Supporters More Likely To View Blacks Negatively.” Reuters reported that “Supporters of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump are more likely to describe African Americans as ‘criminal,’ ‘unintelligent,’ ‘lazy’ and ‘violent’ than voters who backed some Republican rivals in the primaries or who support Democratic contender Hillary Clinton. … Nearly half of Trump's supporters described African Americans as more ‘violent’ than whites. The same proportion described African Americans as more ‘criminal’ than whites, while 40 percent described them as more ‘lazy’ than whites.” [Reuters, 6/28/16]

Pew: Significant Majority Of Trump Supporters View Immigrants As A Burden. A March 2016 Pew Research Center poll reported: “Among those who support Trump for the GOP nomination, 69% say immigrants are a burden, compared with 51% of Cruz supporters and 40% of Kasich supporters. Fewer than one-in-five Clinton (17%) and Sanders supporters (14%) consider immigrants a burden on the country.” [Pew Research Center, 3/31/16]

Public Religion Research Institute: “Trump Supporters Are Much More Likely To Express Negative Views Of Immigrants Than The Supporters Of Other Candidates.” From the summary of the Public Religion Research Institute’s 2015 American Values Survey:

Trump supporters are much more likely to express negative views of immigrants than the supporters of other candidates. Eight in ten (80%) Trump supporters say that immigrants today are a burden to the U.S. because they take American jobs, housing, and health care. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Trump supporters say that it bothers them when they come into contact with immigrants who speak little or no English. [Public Religion Research Institute, November 2015]

NBC News/SurveyMonkey: “67 Percent Of Trump Voters Dislike American Muslims.” Politico reported:

Voters supporting Donald Trump are more than twice as likely to hold an unfavorable view of American Muslims, according to the results of the latest NBC News/SurveyMonkey national online poll released Friday.

According to the results, two-thirds (67 percent) of those identifying themselves as Trump supporters said they do not hold favorable views of Muslim Americans, compared to just 35 percent in the of all voters who said they feel that way.

Nearly 9-in-10 (87 percent) said they support Trump's call to institute a temporary ban on Muslims who are not American citizens from entering the United States, while 47 percent of all voters who responded that way. [Politico, 2/26/16]

Pew: Most Trump Supporters Favor “Subjecting Muslims Living In The United States To Greater Scrutiny Solely Because Of Their Religion.” A March 2016 Pew poll reported: “Overall, most voters continue to oppose subjecting Muslims living in the United States to greater scrutiny solely because of their religion. Again, GOP voters are divided: most Trump (64%) and Cruz supporters (53%) say U.S. Muslims should be subject to heightened scrutiny; most of those who support Kasich (58%) say they should not. Large majorities of Sanders (85%) and Clinton supporters (75%) oppose subjecting U.S. Muslims to additional scrutiny solely because of their religion.” [Pew Research Center, 3/31/16]

PPP: Roughly Two-Thirds Of Trump Supporters Believe Obama Is A Muslim, Six In 10 Falsely Say He Was Not Born In The United States. A Public Policy Polling poll examined “voters with a favorable opinion of Trump” and found “65% think President Obama is a Muslim, only 13% think he's a Christian” and “59% think President Obama was not born in the United States, only 23% think that he was.” [Public Policy Polling, 5/10/16, via Think Progress]

Public Religion Research Institute: Vast Majority Of Trump Supporters “Agree That, Today, Discrimination Against Whites Has Become As Big A Problem As Discrimination Against Blacks And Other Minorities.” From the summary of the Public Religion Research Institute’s 2015 American Values Survey:

Trump supporters also express greater concern about discrimination against white Americans and white men in particular.(3) Roughly three-quarters (74%) of Trump supporters—compared to 57% of supporters of all other Republican candidates—agree that, today, discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities. More than four in ten (42%) Trump supporters—compared to 30% of supporters of all other Republican candidates—say that white men face a lot of discrimination in the U.S. today. [Public Religion Research Institute, November 2015]

Trump Rallies Have Featured Sexist And Racist Behavior

NY Times Was Struck By “The Frequency With Which Some Trump Supporters Use Coarse, Vitriolic, Even Violent Language," Including “In The Epithets They Shout And Chant.” The New York Times posted a video in August featuring racist and sexist chants by Trump supporters. The Times wrote of the video:

New York Times reporters have spent over a year covering Donald J. Trump’s rallies, witnessing so many provocations and heated confrontations at them that the cumulative effect can be numbing: A sharp sting that quickly dulls from repetition.

But what struck us was the frequency with which some Trump supporters use coarse, vitriolic, even violent language — in the epithets they shout and chant, the signs they carry, the T-shirts they wear — a pattern not seen in connection with any other recent political candidate, in any party.

Not everyone attending a Trump rally behaves this way. In fact, many are polite and well mannered. But while protesters are often shouted down, crowds seldom express disapproval of the crude slogans and angry outbursts by Mr. Trump’s supporters. Indeed, these displays have become inextricably bound with the Trump show itself — as much as the snaking entrance lines and the calls to “build a wall” along the border with Mexico.

CNN’s Brian Stelter wrote that the video was a “three-minute mash-up of racist, sexist and violent language used by Trump supporters at the candidate's rallies" and “Reporters from many of The Times' rivals said it accurately reflected how some -- not all -- rallygoers behave.” [The New York Times, 8/3/16; CNN.com, 8/4/16]

Southern Poverty Law Center: Trump’s Rallies Have “Attracted Outright White Supremacists And Nationalists.” The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote in August:

Moreover, his rallies have also attracted outright white supremacists and nationalists, neo-Nazis and “Patriot” extremists and their likeminded supporters who have had no compunction about behaving in a threatening manner, such as the tattooed man who screamed at Latino protesters outside a Trump rally in Phoenix.

The most noteworthy incident involving this trend occurred March 1 in Louisville, Ky., when a black woman was forcefully ejected from a Trump rally by a number of people, including Matthew Heimbach, leader of the “alt right” Traditionalist Workers Party, who was recorded shoving the woman. Heimbach and several others now face criminal charges for their behavior. [Southern Poverty Law Center, 8/9/16]

Huffington Post: “Trump Supporters Are Peddling Disgustingly Sexist Anti-Hillary Clinton Swag.” The Huffington Post reported that “In recent weeks, anti-Hillary Clinton buttons, T-shirts and bumper stickers have begun turning up at Trump events, each one more cruel and disgraceful than the last.” [Huffington Post, 5/3/16]

Huffington Post Compiled A “Running List Of Racist Things That Have Happened At Trump Rallies.” [Huffington Post, 3/2/16]

Think Progress Documented The “Violent, Often Racist Or Xenophobic Attacks Against People At” Trump Events. [Think Progress, 3/17/16]

Trump Has Courted And Empowered The White Nationalist/“Alt-Right” Movement

Leaders Of The Racist “Alt-Right” Movement Are Supporting Trump. The so-called “alt-right” has become one of the most prominent factions of the conservative media and is heavily supporting Trump. BuzzFeed wrote of the movement: “In short, it’s white supremacy perfectly tailored for our times: 4chan-esque racist rhetoric combined with a tinge of Silicon Valley–flavored philosophizing, all riding on the coattails of the Trump boom.” The movement’s leading outlet is Breitbart News, whose chairman, Stephen Bannon, recently became the CEO of Trump’s presidential campaign.

For more on the “alt-right” and how it has become a part of Trump’s campaign, go here.

Trump Has Engaged In A Disturbing Courtship With The Racist White Nationalist Movement. Trump's presidential campaign has engaged in a disturbing courtship with the racist white nationalist movement that is unprecedented in recent American political history. Trump himself has repeatedly retweeted white supremacist messages and accounts, such as “WhiteGenocideTM.” Trump surrogates have directly courted white nationalists by giving interviews to white nationalist media outlets. A “pro-white” radio host received press credentials to cover a Trump rally and the Republican National Convention. And Trump’s campaign selected the leader of a white nationalist political party to be a convention delegate (he resigned following media exposure).

For more on the white nationalist movement’s support of Trump and how Trump’s campaign has been courting them, go here.

Trump’s Own Campaign Manager Attacked Trump Supporters As “Downright Nasty”

Kellyanne Conway: Some Of Trump’s Supporters "Downright Nasty.” During a February radio appearance prior to becoming Trump’s campaign manager, then-Sen. Ted Cruz supporter Kellyanne Conway said of Trump supporters following the Iowa Republican caucus:

CONWAY: Well it was a big blow for somebody who said I’m going to run an unconventional campaign whose supporters, by the way, have been downright nasty to almost everyone else, although I find Mr. Trump to be -- he seemed humbled last night, he's gracious. I know him a little bit and he’s always been warm and lovely and great conversationalist and with a great political and business mind. I think some of his supporters are way over their skis and have been downright nasty. “Cruz the Canadian.” “Cruz the nasty guy.” [inaudible] It’s been something to behold. [WNYM, The John Gambling Show, 2/2/16, via Andrew Kaczynski]