California billionaire and Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer said at a Thursday campaign rally President Donald Trump "hates" 80 percent of Americans.
Roughly halfway through the event, Steyer said Trump manipulates inequalities between segments and classes of Americans.
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"He plays on all the divisions in American society to make people scared about that," Steyer began.
"And that's how he sells people on the idea that we—you know, I think he hates about 80 percent of Americans. He really, really, if you do the math, that's about where you come out. But his point is, ‘we need to hurt them because otherwise they're going to be taking money out of your pocket.' That's just not true."
His campaign posted video of the full event—"A Conversation with Tom Steyer Live from NYC"—online.
The comment is reminiscent of a Hillary Clinton line from a 2016 fundraiser that ignited controversy that would follow her throughout her campaign.
"To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables," Clinton said about two months before the 2016 election. "Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it."
Steyer announced in Iowa in February that he would not be running for president, but jumped in to the race in early July.
Since then, the billionaire has pumped millions of dollars of his own money into Facebook and television ad buys in early primary states. He failed to make the September Democratic debates but has qualified for the October stage. Eleven other candidates have also qualified.
A request for comment to the Steyer campaign on the "80 percent" remark was not immediately returned.