Donald Trump’s vice-presidential running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, neatly illustrated the trickiness of the candidate’s response to Hillary Clinton’s comments about a “basket of deplorables” who are supporting Donald Trump.
The issue was broached in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Monday afternoon.
BLITZER: Let’s get into this whole issue that Hillary Clinton raised the other night when she spoke about “the basket of deplorables.” She said that half — in her initial statement, she said this, she said, “To be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables’ — right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.” Afterwards, very quickly, within a day, she issued a statement saying she regretted saying half, it wasn’t half. I spoke to her press secretary today, I said, “Well, what percentage,” he wouldn’t give me a percentage. But she said there are supporters — and you know this — there are some supporters of Donald Trump and Mike Pence who — David Duke, for example, some other white nationalists — who would fit into that category of deplorables. Right?
PENCE: As I’ve told you the last time I was on, I’m not really sure why the media keeps dropping David Duke’s name. Donald Trump has denounced David Duke repeatedly. We don’t want his support and we don’t want the support of people who think like him.
BLITZER: So you call him a deplorable. You would call him deplorable.
PENCE: No, I’m not in the name-calling business, Wolf. You know me better than that. What Hillary Clinton did Friday night was shocking. I mean, the millions of people who support Donald Trump around this country are not a basket of anything. They are Americans. And they deserve the respect of the Democrat nominee for president of the United States. For her to rattle off this litany of pejoratives was just really shocking.
— CNN (@CNN) September 12, 2016