Here’s an exchange from last night’s debate:
CLINTON: You know, he tried to switch from looks to stamina. But this is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs, and someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers, who has said…
TRUMP: I never said that.
Let’s pause briefly here to note that he did.
CLINTON: …. women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men.
TRUMP: I didn’t say that.
CLINTON: And 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. Donald, she has a name.
TRUMP: Where did you find this? Where did you find this?
CLINTON: Her name is Alicia Machado.
TRUMP: Where did you find this?
CLINTON: And she has become a U.S. citizen, and you can bet…
TRUMP: Oh, really? CLINTON: … she’s going to vote this November.
Note that when Trump was accused of calling a Latina woman “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping” he didn’t deny he said it, although he spent much of the rest of the evening interrupting Clinton to deny saying things that he has said. Even Trump, if not capable of shame, is capable of recognizing that some of the idiotic stuff he spews is politically damaging, but he was proud of this one. So it’s not surprising that he would reiterate his characterizations sua sponte:
On Fox and 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.”
What’s remarkable about the Fox and 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.
According to Machado, not only did Trump call her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping” — he 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.
Note as well Trump stiffed Machado financially, another one of his common practices Clinton pointed out and Trump didn’t deny.
One of Clinton’s necessary tasks last night was to throw Trump’s grotesque sexism into sharp relief, and did she ever.