ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Donald Trump supporters gathered Monday night at a campaign rally in North Carolina made the phrase "basket of deplorables" as visible as they could.
The phrase, borrowed from a speech Hillary Clinton gave last Friday during a fundraiser, was meant to point out the hatred brewing among "half of" the supporters within the Republican camp. Instead, both the Republican candidate and his supporters on Monday tried to turn it into a phrase that's indicative of Clinton's hatred for working class Americans.
"You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” Clinton said. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”
On Saturday, Clinton released a statement saying that she regretted making such a broad generalization about Trump's supporters. "I regret saying ‘half’ — that was wrong," Clinton said. But, she continued, "I won’t stop calling out bigotry and racist rhetoric in this campaign."
The statement did not deter Trump supporters in Asheville, or Trump himself, who peppered the phrase repeatedly throughout his speech as an example of a negative message from Clinton's campaign.
"Never in history has a presidential candidate so demonized the American people," Trump said.
He later continued, "Hillary can never be president of this country. What she just said shows what a low opinion she has of the American people. We just can't let that happen."
Many of Trump's supporters agreed, turning the phrase on its head to proudly identify as "deplorables" themselves.
"I'm deplorable, yes I am," said one man who asked not to be named (pictured below). "And I'm proud of it."
Another man, in the video below, said, "I'm deplorable. And what difference does it make?"
"That's a huge mistake on her part," said one woman who chose not to be named. "It's going to haunt her. I want a T-shirt that says 'I'm deplorable' on it."
"It certainly hurt her more than it did any good," said Joe Mospaw. "We're deplorable now." His wife, Jeanette, added that: "We're everything-phobic? That's going to come back to bite her in the butt."
"I think it's very condescending and degrading and speaks to her character," said Nicole Parton. "She's so out of touch with common folk, and it's the working class folks who are so ticked off and frustrated here."
One woman who chose not to be named, holding a "Basket of Deplorables For Trump" sign, said that, "It takes one to know one. [Clinton] really doesn't get it."
One man, Scott Crosby, held up a "Deplorable Lives Matter" sign from the stands. "I can't believe she said that," he told BuzzFeed News. "It's absolutely asinine, and it's ten times worse than anything Trump has ever said. She's demoralizing the country."
Another man held up a sign that said, on one side, "Hillary says we're de-plor-a-ble," and on the other, "Deplorable Lives Matter." When asked if he would comment further he said, "Nope, Hillary said it all."
"I think it's desperate," said a man who chose to be identified only as a "deplorable Trump fan." "Everybody matters when you're president of the United States, not just the people who voted for you. How is she going to be fair to the deplorables?"
One man walked around the whole arena getting laughs and getting his photo taken with a trash basket on his head that said "Trump 2016 Deplorables."
Others did not so readily embrace the label. "It was absolute ignorance on her part to say something like that," one man who chose not to be named (pictured below) said. "We are all Americans, and just because we made a choice does not mean we are deplorable."
"There may be some who support him that are racist and all that, but we're not all like that," said Ariel Ramsey. "She's just trying to make us all look that way."
Trump also brought several supporters on stage who contested the label. "As a black woman, I am many things," said one supporter. "But am I deplorable?"
Another woman stated, "I'm a wife, I'm a mother, I work full-time. Am I deplorable?"
Outside, hundreds of protesters waited for the rally to conclude. A handful responded to Trump supporters' embrace of the "basket of deplorables" label. "This campaign is going to use whatever it can to stir up some enthusiasm," said Clark Luster, holding up a sign that said "We hate no one."
"Next week it'll be just another comment," he said.
Azeen Ghorayshi is a science reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Her PGP Fingerprint is 9739 9DAE 607E A66A 3683 AC20 E34B D2A0 8899 74C4
Contact Azeen Ghorayshi at Azeen.Ghorayshi@buzzfeed.com.
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