Hillary Clinton reflected on her infamous use of the phrase “basket of deplorables” during last year’s presidential campaign — and called out President Donald Trump for his “deplorable” behavior — during an interview with CBS on Sunday, her first since losing the election.
“Well, I thought Trump was behaving in a deplorable manner. I thought a lot of his appeals to voters were deplorable,” Clinton told Jane Pauley during an interview on CBS Sunday Morning. “I thought his behavior as we saw on the Access Hollywood tape was deplorable. And there were a large number of people who didn’t care. It did not matter to them. And he turned out to be a very effective reality TV star.”
Speaking at a fundraiser in New York last September, Clinton blasted some of Trump’s supporters in a speech that became a rallying cry for Trump during the campaign. “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.”
Less than a month later, a 2005 Access Hollywood taped surfaced, in which Trump can be heard bragging about how his fame afforded him the chance to do “anything” to women. “Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything,” Trump said in the sexist remarks. The tape was released just days before the second debate, a town hall-style event that featured Trump lurking behind Clinton throughout the night.
“After we heard him admitting and laughing about sexually assaulting women and being able to get away with it because if you’re a star, you can do anything. So in my debate prep, we practiced this,” Clinton told CBS. “The young man playing Trump would stalk me. And I practiced keeping my composure. I practiced not getting rattled. Well, it’s one thing to practice it. It’s another thing to be in front of, you know, 50 million, 60 million, 70 million people and having him scowling and leering and moving up on me. And — it– it was so discombobulating. And so while I’m answering questions, my mind is going, ‘Okay, do I keep my composure? Do I act like a president?'”
Clinton wrote about the debate in her new book, What Happened?, which details the contentious election. “It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, ‘well what would you do?’” Clinton wrote in an excerpt previously released last month. “Do you stay calm, carry on, and keep smiling as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your personal space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye, and say loudly and clearly, ‘Back up you creep. I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me, so back off.’ I chose option A. I kept my cool, aided by a lifetime of difficult men trying to throw me off. I did grip the microphone extra hard. I wonder, though, if I should have chosen option B. It certainly would’ve been better TV. Maybe I have over-learned the lesson of staying calm.”