Hillary Clinton has sought to clarify controversial comments made last week in which she suggested that people who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election were economically backward or women who had been pressured into doing so by men.
“I understand how some of what I said upset people and can be misinterpreted,” Clinton said in a Facebook post Saturday. “I meant no disrespect to any individual or group. And I want to look to the future as much as anybody.”
In an interview in India, Clinton provoked condemnation, even among some Democrats and former allies, when she implied that white woman had been persuaded to vote Republican by their husbands and other men in their lives.
“[Democrats] do not do well with white men, and we don’t do well with married, white women,” she said. “And part of that is an identification with the Republican Party, and a sort of ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son, whoever, believes you should,” she said.
While stating that she understood why what she said may have been “misinterpreted” and “upset people,” she stood by her original argument.
“Do I believe that some women look at a powerful woman and question whether she can lead, maybe voting for the man their husband is voting for instead? It may not be universally true or easy to hear, but yes, it’s a dynamic still at play in our society,” she wrote.
In seeking to explain her shock defeat in November 2016, the Democrat claimed that Trump won by preying on voters’ social and economic anxieties in less economically advanced areas of the country.
"I won the places that represent two-thirds of America's gross domestic product,” she said. "So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward. And his whole campaign, 'Make America Great Again,' was looking backwards.”
For many, the comments were reminiscent of her infamous remarks during the campaign when she claimed that half of Trump supporters were a “basket of deplorables.” The term was reclaimed by Trump and his supporters and used as a frequent attack against Clinton.
Seeking to clarify her latest remarks, Clinton wrote on Facebook that she wasn’t referring to “the coasts versus the heartland,” but that she was criticizing the way Trump had seized upon people’s fears.
“The foundation of his message, “Make America Great AGAIN” suggests that to be great we have to go back to something we are no longer,” she wrote. “I never accepted that and never will.”
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