‘Check out sex tape and past’: Trump shames ex-Miss universe Alicia Machado | us-presidential-election | Hindustan Times
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‘Check out sex tape and past’: Trump shames ex-Miss universe Alicia Machado

Donald Trump shamed a former beauty pageant winner Friday for her sexual history and encouraged Americans to check out what he called her “sex tape,” in an early-morning tweet-storm that dragged him further away from his campaign’s efforts to broaden its appeal to women.

us presidential election Updated: Sep 30, 2016 22:09 IST
Yashwant Raj
Alicia Machado
Trump’s taunt appeared to refer to footage from a Spanish reality show in 2005 in which Machado was a contestant and appeared on camera in bed with a male contestant(AFP)

The 2016 race for the White House just went x-rated, with Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, inviting critics and supporters to check out a “sex tape”, he said, featured a former Miss Universe who has accused him of treating her badly.

The nominee blasted out a string of tweets Friday morning — the earliest, which was widely noted, time-stamped 3:20 am — criticising Hillary Clinton for bringing up the 1996 Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, at their first presidential debate.

“Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a US citizen so she could use her in the debate?” Trump wrote in one of the tweets.

“Wow, Crooked Hillary was duped and used by my worst Miss U. Hillary floated her as an “angel” without checking her past, which is terrible!” he said in another tweet.

An apparently upset Trump cited no links or evidence while referring to the tape, but he could be referring to, what The New York Times called, a “risqué” video clip from a reality TV show.

Machado, who is Hispanic, won the Miss Universe title in 1996, just a few weeks after Trump bought the pageant. She has alleged he began calling her “Miss Piggy” when she put on weight and was generally disparaging about her. She has said he also called her “Miss Housekeeper”, in a derogatory reference to Latinas employed in the hospitality industry.

Clinton brought up these remarks at the debate completely stumping the Republican nominee — who didn’t have a decent come-back and appeared to be still reeling from the impact — to parlay an old but tested attack line accusing him of treating women badly.

Alicia Machado of Venezuela (L), a Hispanic, won the Miss Universe title in 1996, just a few weeks after Trump bought the pageant. (Reuters file photo)

On Friday, Clinton called Trump “unhinged” for his tweets.

Trump had gone on a tear morning after the debate, defending his remarks in an interview on Fox, saying Machado’s weight gain was indeed problematic — “it was a real problem. We had a real problem”.

The former Miss Universe, who is now a political activist, doubled down on her allegations at a news conference hosted by the Clinton campaign later the same day, and added more. Trump always treated her like a “lesser thing, like garbage”, she said, and that this election was like “a bad dream” back after 20 years.

And Trump, now, doesn’t seem ready to let it go of either. It’s Day 4, Friday, and he is stuck with her, and by choice it appeared given his new tweets that reignited the controversy, much as he had done during his row with the Khans, parents of a Muslim soldier killed in Iraq. He had kept fueling it with one offensive remark after another while his closest aides and supporters cringed.

His poll numbers, which he is very sensitive about, had tanked then, and his campaign had seemed to be in complete disarray. A new team of advisers proceeded to put him in a straight-jacket and tied him to a Teleprompter every time he spoke in public. And it worked, he was back in business.

In the days running up to the debate, Trump’s poll numbers surged to put him within touching distance of the Democratic nominee, wiping out a massive 8 point lead she had held early August. And now he is ready to undo all of that. Or so it appeared from his tweets.