- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Donald Trump is defending his criticism against former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, saying she “gained a massive amount of weight” after her 1996 victory and became a “real problem” for the organization.

Speaking on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning, Mr. Trump said Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton only managed to get under his skin once during their first presidential debate Monday night.

“The very last question when she brought up the person that became — you know I know that person and she was a Miss Universe person, and she was the worst we ever had. The worst, the absolute worst. She was impossible,” the Republican presidential nominee said of Ms. Machado.

“She was a Miss Universe contestant and ultimately a winner who they had a tremendously difficult time with as Miss Universe,” Mr. Trump continued. “She was the winner, and you know she gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem. We had a real problem. Not only that, but her attitude, and we had a real problem with her.

“So Hillary went back into the years and she found the girl and talked about her like she was Mother Theresa, and it wasn’t quite that way, but that’s OK. Hillary has to do what she has to do,” he added.

Ms. Machado has claimed Mr. Trump, former owner of the Miss Universe Organization, called her “Miss Piggy” when she gained weight and made her exercise in front of the media.

Mrs. Clinton brought up Mr. Trump’s comments about Ms. Machado toward the end of Monday’s debate, saying the business mogul referred to the Venezuela-born beauty contestant as “Miss Housekeeping.”

“One of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest — he loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them — and he called this woman ‘Miss Piggy,’ then he called her ‘Miss Housekeeping’ because she was Latina,” Mrs. Clinton said. “Donald, she has a name. Her name is Alicia Machado, and she has become a U.S. citizen, and you can bet she’s going to vote this November.”

The Clinton campaign later released an ad featuring Ms. Machado talking about how Mr. Trump insulted her.

She tweeted her thanks to Mrs. Clinton after the debate, writing in Spanish, “Thanks Mrs. Hillary Clinton. Your respect for women and our differences makes you great. I’m with you.”

Ms. Machado also tweeted a picture of her holding a U.S. passport with the message, “I received my passport ! I’m ready to vote For my country for you @HillaryClinton for my daughter For women workers.”

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