By Melissa Fares and Gina Cherelus
(Reuters) - U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's declaration of love for "the poorly educated" in his Nevada victory speech lit up social media on Wednesday, sparking a battle between those dumbfounded by the remark and those saying it had been taken out of context.
After winning the vote of the state's Republicans by a wide margin on Tuesday, the real estate billionaire rattled off a list of those groups who swept him to victory: "We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated."
By Wednesday morning, the phrase "I LOVE THE POORLY EDUCATED" was trending heavily. On Twitter, it was tweeted roughly 15 times a minute, according to social media analytics firm Zoomph.
"I am, by modern standards, poorly educated, and I think that Donald Trump is a threat to America," tweeted Aaron Camp (@AaronApolloCamp).
Another Twitter user, Kat (@VTweddingPhoto), wrote, "This is an embarrassment. For the GOP and for us as Americans. The world is once again laughing."
Others said Trump's remark was being taken out of context, as he also touted having won the support of "the highly educated."
"To be fair with Trump, he said 'I love the highly educated and the poorly educated'. Don't take it out of context," tweeted Super Bowl Champs (@Josh_D_Manning).
Dan Slott (@DanSlott) was not swayed. "We won the poorly educated vote. I love the poorly educated" - Trump Not a joke. Not parody. Not out of context. Trump ACTUALLY said this."
Trump has won three of the four state-by-state Republican nominating contests, including Nevada, in the run-up to the party nominating convention in July and the Nov. 8 general election to succeed President Barack Obama.
(Reporting by Melissa Fares; Editing by Dan Burns and Howard Goller)