Hillary Clinton roused a range of responses from the Donald Trump campaign after claiming at a fundraiser in New York Friday that half of her Republican rival’s supporters belong in a “basket of deplorables,” calling them “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.”
Trump and running mate Mike Pence condemned Clinton’s words, which Trump called a “grotesque attack on American voters.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s son and his unofficial campaign adviser Roger Stone decided to embrace the “deplorables” label on social media, sharing an image that featured themselves and other members of team Trump alongside a popular white nationalist symbol.
“I am so proud to be one of the Deplorables,” Stone tweeted Saturday, along with a doctored poster from “The Expendables” movie, in which Trump is flanked by several members of his campaign and high-profile supporters above the title “The Deplorables.”
— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) September 10, 2016
Donald Trump Jr. also shared the image, which includes him, Stone, Pence, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, on Instagram. Also featured are prominent conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos, a Breitbart writer and well-known alt-right figure.
But the face that stands out the most among “The Deplorables” is that of Pepe the Frog, a popular white nationalist symbol, placed visibly over Trump’s left shoulder.
The green cartoon frog has been featured in a variety of Internet memes over the past decade. But in the last year or so, Pepe has been co-opted by members of the alt-right movement, who frequently share images of the frog depicted as a Nazi soldier and Trump supporter.
Last year, Trump, who has retweeted white nationalist imagery, also shared a Pepe the Frog cartoon in which the frog is merged with the image of Trump as president.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2015
It’s unclear where the “Deplorables” image first originated. On Instagram, Trump Jr. — who also landed himself in hot water earlier this year after he was interviewed on a pro-white radio program — said it was sent to him by a friend.
David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, Republican Senate candidate and outspoken Trump supporter, tweeted a different version of the “Expendables” parody Saturday. Duke’s version featured a different cast of characters, including himself, Ann Coulter and Trump campaign chief Steve Bannon.
In the image Duke tweeted, “The Deplorables” is followed by the tagline: “Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.”
On Saturday, Clinton expressed regret for labeling “half” of Trump’s supporters “deplorables,” issuing a statement in which she called the comment, “’grossly generalistic,’ and that’s never a good idea.”
However, she maintained that “Trump has built his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia.”