Hillary Clinton: Half of Trump supporters belong in 'basket of deplorables'

Alastair Jamieson, NBC News
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Hillary Clinton urged supporters late Friday not to be complacent about Donald Trump's chances of winning the election, saying half of his backers were "desperate for change" but the other half belonged in a "basket of deplorables."

Appearing at an LGBT gala fundraiser where Barbra Streisand performed, she said many of the GOP candidate's voters were "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it."

Her comments drew an immediate reaction from Trump's campaign, which said Clinton "revealed just how little she thinks of the hard-working men and women of America."

Trump earlier told a crowd in Florida that Clinton could "shoot somebody" and not be prosecuted —an attack that echoed a boast the businessman once made about himself.

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Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Party of New York Presidential Convention, September 7, 2016.
Mike Segar | Reuters

At the LGBT event in New York, Clinton urged the crowd to volunteer for her campaign, saying: "If you know anybody who's even thinking of voting for Trump, stage an intervention."

She joked: "That may be one conversion therapy I endorse. Just remember: friends don't let friends vote for Trump."

Addressing the issue of Trump's popularity, Clinton said: "To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the 'basket of deplorables.' Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.

"And unfortunately, there are people like that and he has lifted them up … he tweets and retweets offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric."

She continued: "Now some of those folks, they are irredeemable, but they are not America but the other basket … are people who feel that 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. They are just desperate for change … they don't buy everything he says but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different.

"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'," she said.

Trump's senior communications adviser, Jason Miller, said Clinton had "ripped off her mask and revealed her true contempt for everyday Americans."

"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'," he said in a statement. "This was Clinton, as a defender of Washington's rigged system - telling the American public that she could care less about them.

"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."

However, Clinton's campaign spokesman defended her comments, saying on Twitter: "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."