Trump Blasts Clinton's 'Deplorables' Comment In Asheville, N.C.

Sep 12, 2016
Originally published on September 12, 2016 8:54 pm
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Donald Trump spent today working with fresh material to make his case against Hillary Clinton. He was largely quiet about Clinton's recent health issues but is pressing his opponent over these comments from a fundraiser Clinton held on Friday night.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HILLARY CLINTON: You could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: Right?

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: The racist, sexists, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic - you name it.

CORNISH: NPR's Scott Detrow is in Asheville, N.C., where Donald Trump spoke to reporters this evening. And Scott, what else did you hear from Donald Trump today?

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Well, Trump has really taken this and made it fit into the message of his campaign, and that's the basic argument that Hillary Clinton looks down on all of Trump's supporters. Trump - and he's been saying this for a while - says he's the one in the race standing with average people. He calls them the voiceless. And he's arguing Clinton really despises these voters and that the candidate's for the establishment and the elite.

This evening Trump actually invited about a half dozen supporters on stage with him to respond to what Clinton said.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: We are going to make America great again, and Hillary needs to take a nap.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: Do I look deplorable?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: No.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: What?

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: No.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: I'm a wife, a mother. I work full-time, and I am voting for Donald Trump. And Mrs. Clinton, you can go home.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

DETROW: That was one supporter whose name we haven't been able to catch yet. But Trump basically is arguing that Clinton is the elite candidate. He's there for the people.

CORNISH: Now, Hillary Clinton has said over the weekend that she shouldn't have quantified this statement by using the term half, but her campaign is fundamentally standing by the basic characterization of some Trump supporters, right?

DETROW: Absolutely. And in fact they seem to be happy to have this conversation. They responded to an ad that Trump put out about this today by saying, well, here's several different examples of Trump talking about black communities, about Muslim communities, talking about Mexican immigrants all in ways that have caused controversy and offended a lot of people.

And in fact they were using Hillary Clinton's Twitter account today to circulate video of Governor Mike Pence on CNN. He was asked whether he called David Duke - that's the former Ku Klux Klan member who's endorsed Donald Trump - deplorable. Pence says he doesn't want Duke's support, but he's not in the name-calling business. That was a clip the Clinton campaign was sending around.

So all in all, they seem happy to have this conversation even if it seems to have played directly into Trump's hand in terms of the line that he's been talking about for months now.

CORNISH: Now, there's been a lot of discussion over the candidate's health since Hillary Clinton fell ill at that 9/11 commemoration in New York yesterday, and her campaign is promising to release more detailed health records. I mentioned at the beginning that Donald Trump has been quiet about this, but has he been asked about it today?

DETROW: He was asked a couple times during cable news appearances this morning. He said that basically he wants Hillary Clinton to get better. He wished her well. But you know, he's been raising questions about Clinton's health for months now. Here he was on CNN in March.

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DONALD TRUMP: I think she doesn't have the stamina. You watch her life. You watch how she'll go away for three, four days. She'll come back. She'll go. I just don't think she has the stamina.

DETROW: You know, and this has been a drum beat from the Trump campaign for months. And they weren't talking about pneumonia there. They were talking about broader health problems or insinuating to them at least.

CORNISH: Lastly, Donald Trump's health records - has he said anything more about his own?

DETROW: Nothing yet - he says more will come out later this week, that he just had a physical. But it looks like he may release that information on "The Dr. Oz Show," and Dr. Oz of course has had a lot of questions raised about his credibility as well.

CORNISH: NPR's Scott Detrow traveling with the Trump campaign in North Carolina, thank you.

DETROW: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.