— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 12, 2016
Donald Trump on Monday night invited supporters on stage with him to denounce Hillary Clinton’s recent description of the GOP presidential nominee’s backers a “basket of deplorables.”
At a rally in Asheville, N.C., Trump defended his supporters and knocked the Democratic nominee for painting them as bigots and racists.
“While her campaign slanders you as deplorables and irredeemables, I call you hard-working Americans patriots that love your country and want a better future for all our people,” Trump said Monday night. “You are everybody. Above all else, you’re Americans and you’re entitled to leadership that honors you, cherishes, you and totally defends you.”
The real estate mogul was then joined by a handful of supporters who took the stage to explain who they are and why they are supporting Trump.
One African-American couple came up to the microphone and said that they’ve been serving in public education for a combined 85 years.
“My wife and I represent non-deplorable people,” the man said. “We are not racists at all.”
Another woman used her time on stage as an opportunity to bash Clinton.
“I am probably a lot of things, deplorable is not one of them I assure you,” she said, adding that, “Hillary needs to take a nap.”
Trump thanked the supporters as they exited the stage, saying, “These people are so representative of people throughout our country,”
Speaking at the National Guard Association’s yearly conference in Baltimore earlier on Monday, Trump called on Clinton to retract her comment about his supporters or end her campaign.
“Hillary Clinton still hasn’t apologized to those she slandered. In fact, she hasn’t backed down at all,” Trump said. “She’s doubled down on her campaign’s conspiracy and contempt. If Hillary Clinton will not retract her comments in full, I don’t see how she can credibly campaign any further.”
Clinton caused an uproar Friday when she said at a New York fundraiser that “half” of Trump’s supporters are “irredeemable.”
“Just to be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables,” Clinton said to laughter and cheers.
“The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it,” she continued.
Clinton has walked back the remarks to an extent, saying she was wrong to be so “grossly generalistic.”
But both sides appear to be content to continue that vein of attack, with Clinton doubling down on her attacks against Trump for running what she described as a campaign designed to appeal to racists and bigots.
Meanwhile, the comment had already made an appearance on campaign trail T-shirts, with a Trump supporter at his Monday night rally wearing a shirt that said, “I’m Deplorable.”
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) September 12, 2016