New York Times
By Nick Corasaniti
September 12, 2016
Donald J. Trump demanded Monday that Hillary Clinton apologize for calling some of his supporters a “basket of deplorables” during a fund-raiser, accusing her in an indignant speech here of bullying and slandering voters.
“I was thus deeply shocked and alarmed this Friday to hear my opponent attack, slander, smear, demean these wonderful, amazing people who are supporting our campaign by the millions,” Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, said in a speech to the National Guard Association of the United States.
The candidate tried to paint Mrs. Clinton’s comments as “disqualifying” for a presidential candidate and “the most explicit attack on the American voter,” claiming the Democratic nominee was trying to intimidate voters not to support his campaign.
As Mr. Trump has seen his standing rise in a few polls while his opponent stumbles, his campaign is trying to seize on the comments to alter the direction of a general election campaign in which he has frequently been on the defensive. The speech was coupled with a new ad released by the Trump campaign titled “Deplorables,” which will run in four battleground states and on national cable to start.
During a 20-minute address at the association’s annual conference, Mr. Trump spent more than half of his time focused on Mrs. Clinton’s comments, and was greeted with a polite reception, but he rarely drew any extended applause for his broadsides against his opponent.
The candidate also offered an impassioned defense of his supporters and their backing of causes he has been campaigning on.
“People who want their immigration laws enforced,” Mr. Trump said, “are not racists.”
“They are patriotic Americans of all backgrounds who want their jobs and families protected,” he added. “People who warn about radical Islamic terrorism are not Islamaphobes. They’re not. They are decent American citizens who want to uphold our tolerant values and keep our country safe.”
In her remarks at the private fund-raiser Friday night, Mrs. Clinton said, “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.”
After word of Mrs. Clinton’s comments became public, she expressed regret for them on Saturday.
“Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that’s never a good idea,” Mrs. Clinton said. “I regret saying ‘half’ — that was wrong.”
But the apology was not enough for Mr. Trump, who demanded to the thousands in the room that Mrs. Clinton retract her comments in full and apologize.
“If Hillary Clinton will not retract her comments in full, I don’t see how she can credibly campaign any further,” Mr. Trump told the crowd. “Let’s be clear: These were not offhand comments from Hillary Clinton. These weren’t strained remarks, not at all. They were given also in an interview, and probably a number of inte rviews.”
Mr. Trump himself has often been accused of offending racial minorities, Muslims and women during the presidential campaign, but despite the ensuing outcries, he has resisted apologizing for such remarks.
Mr. Trump’s new ad, just the third of his presidential campaign, reinforced the speech’s message, as it showed thousands of supporters cheering at Trump rallies while the audio of Mrs. Clinton’s remarks was played.
The ad is rotating into the Trump campaign’s existing buys on broadcast and cable in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida.
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