Trump Responds To Clinton's Comments About His Supporters

Sep 12, 2016
Originally published on September 12, 2016 6:18 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.

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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 racists, sexists, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic - you name it.

CORNISH: NPR's Scott Detrow is in Asheville, N.C., where Donald Trump is campaigning this evening. And Scott, what more can you tell us about what Trump is saying on the stump today?

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Well, Trump has really taken this and made it fit into the message of his campaign - the basic argument that Hillary Clinton looks down on all Trump supporters.

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DONALD TRUMP: Our support comes from every part of America and every walk of life. We have the support of cops and soldiers, carpenters and welders, the young and the old and millions of working-class families who just want a better future and a good job. These were the people Hillary Clinton so viciously demonized.

DETROW: You know, Trump says he's the one in the race standing with average people. He calls them the voiceless. And he's arguing that Hillary Clinton, you know, despises these voters and is the candidate for the establishment and the elite.

CORNISH: You know, after the comment went viral, Hillary Clinton said over the weekend that she shouldn't have quantified this by saying half, but her campaign is standing by the basic characterization of what she said, right?

DETROW: That's right. They responded to Donald Trump's new ad on this saying, well, here are several examples of Donald Trump talking about black communities, talking about Muslim communities, talking about Mexican immigrants all in ways that cause controversy and offended a lot of people.

You could also point out Trump's role in the effort to question whether President Obama was born in the United States. They point to support that Trump has gotten from people like David Duke. So while this statement on Friday by Clinton does give Trump ammunition, the Clinton campaign seems happy to make the conversation about how Trump has alienated all these minority groups throughout his campaign.

CORNISH: We're losing you a little bit, Scott. Let's see if we can hold on for the next minute it's - because there's been a lot of discussion over the candidates' health since Hillary Clinton fell ill at the 9/11 commemoration in New York yesterday, her campaign's promising to release more detailed health records. And I mentioned at the beginning that he's been relatively quiet about this. When has he said about it today?

DETROW: So far nothing. When he was asked about this during some cable news appearances, he said that he wishes Hillary Clinton well. But Trump has been raising questions about Clinton's health for months. Here he was on CNN back in March.

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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, this has been a drumbeat from the Trump campaign. Rudy Giuliani was on Fox News telling people to basically Google conspiracy theories about it. And his questions weren't hinting at pneumonia. They were clearly hinting at a broader health problem for Hillary Clinton.

CORNISH: And meanwhile, Donald Trump's health records - we know he's released a very short letter from his doctor. Anything else?

DETROW: That's it so far - that short letter that many people dismissed as being hyperbole saying that Trump would be the healthiest person ever elected president. Trump does say there's more to come later in the week, that he recently took a physical and he'll share that information. He is scheduled to appear on "The Dr. Oz Show" on Thursday. But of course Dr. Oz has a lot of questions about his credibility as well.

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

DETROW: Anytime, Audie. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.