Hillary Clinton has apologised for calling half of all supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump "deplorable" people. On Friday (9 September) the Democratic presidential candidate, landed in controversy for saying that Trump supporters belonged in a "basket of deplorables", who she said comprised of "the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it".
Clinton's comments came at a gala event for the LGBT group in New York City. She said, "You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?" She continued, "Some of those folks, they are irredeemable."
In response to her comment, Trump said that it was "insulting to millions of hard working, amazing people".
On Saturday (10 September), Clinton released a statement and said, "Last night I was 'grossly generalistic,' and that's never a good idea. I regret saying 'half' – that was wrong."
However, she also added that Trump "built his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia and has given a national platform to hateful views and voices. Many of Trump's supporters are hard-working Americans who just don't feel like the economy or our political system are working for them".
Republicans have been quick to hit back at Clinton. Vice presidential nominee Mike Pence condemned the comments and said, "The men and women who support Donald Trump's campaign are hardworking Americans ... Hillary, they are not a basket of anything. They are Americans, and they deserve your respect."
In a separate statement, Trump said: "Isn't it disgraceful that Hillary Clinton makes the worst mistake of the political season and instead of owning up to this grotesque attack on American voters, she tries to turn it around with a pathetic rehash of the words and insults used in her failing campaign?"
Head of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus said that Clinton has demonstrated "her outright contempt for ordinary people". He added that millions of Americans supported Trump because they were "sick of corrupt career politicians like Hillary Clinton".
On social media, the #BasketofDeplorables was trending as angry Republicans slammed Clinton for the comments. Opinion polls indicated that Trump is making gains on Clinton and the two are neck-and-neck in key states of Ohio and Florida.