At Monday night’s presidential debate, Hillary Clinton took Donald Trump to task for his many sexist comments, like calling women pigs, slobs, and dogs. And one anecdote in particular stood out: Clinton said Trump had called former Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado, who is Latina, “Miss Housekeeping” and “Miss Piggy.”
“Where did you find this?” Trump interrupted more than once as Clinton told the story.
On Fox & Friends Tuesday morning, Trump brought up that moment again — and doubled down on fat-shaming Machado.
“That person was a Miss Universe person, and she was the worst we ever had, the worst, the absolute worst,” Trump said. “She was the winner and, you know, she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem.”
Trump added that Clinton “went back into the years and she found this girl ... and talked about her like she was Mother Teresa, and it wasn’t quite that way, but that’s okay.”
Trump continues weight attack on miss universe https://t.co/lizbpeSinS— Eddie Vale (@evale72) September 27, 2016
What’s remarkable about the Fox & Friends exchange, other than its cruelty, is that Trump brought up the Miss Universe moment unprompted. It was a moment during the debate that looked bad for Trump, and he had to have known that.
But Trump couldn’t help himself. Much like when he kept attacking the family of a fallen Muslim American soldier who criticized him at the Democratic National Convention, Trump couldn’t help trying to reassert his dominance after being publicly called out for saying something shameful. And he just didn’t seem to understand how cruel and offensive his comments would sound to most people.
Trump also didn’t deny, either on Fox & Friends or during the debate, that he called Machado “Miss Piggy” or “Miss Housekeeping.” Machado says Trump called her those names to her face.
Trump’s comments seem even more cruel when you hear Machado’s full story. The Clinton campaign interviewed Machado, who represented Venezuela and was the first Miss Universe winner after Trump bought the pageant in 1996, and made a short video about her experience.
According to Machado, not only did Trump call her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping” but he also publicly humiliated her for gaining weight after the pageant by inviting reporters to watch her work out at the gym. Machado also said Trump refused to pay her what she was owed for the commercials and promotional work she did after the pageant.
After that ordeal, Machado said she struggled for five years with anorexia and bulimia.
“He was overwhelming,” Machado said of Trump in the video. “I was very scared of him. He’d yell at me all the time.”
Trump also said cruel things about Machado’s weight gain at the time it happened. The video above features an old clip of Trump saying Machado was “somebody who liked to eat.” And in his 1997 book The Art of the Comeback, Trump said that the “best part” of the 1997 Miss Universe pageant was “the knowledge that next year, [Machado] would no longer be Miss Universe.”
Trump’s latest double-down on Machado is yet another item to add to his long list of offensive remarks about women. But it’s also yet another moment that shows us how callous, petty, and vindictive Trump can be.