Update, Sept. 27, 2016:
On Tuesday morning, Trump doubled-down on his criticism of Alicia Machado’s weight and behavior while she held the title of Miss Universe, telling the panel of Fox and Friends that she was “the worst, the absolute worst” and reiterating that she “gained a massive amount of weight.”
In a video produced by the Clinton campaign and released just after the debate, Machado recounts what it was like to be on the receiving end of Trump’s abuse: “He was overwhelming. I was very scared of him,” she recalled. “He’d yell at me all the time.”
Near the end of Monday night’s first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton had one of her best moments of the night when she called out Donald Trump for his long history of horrible statements about women.
Debate moderator Lester Holt had asked Trump what he meant when he said that Clinton, the first major party nominee for president who is a woman, “doesn’t have a presidential look.” Trump filibustered the question and failed to answer even as Holt attempted to press him on it.
Instead of allowing Holt to move the debate forward, Clinton wisely steered the conversation back to his original question:
Clinton: He tried to switch from look 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—
Trump: I never said …
Clinton: Who have said women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good of a job as men. 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. Her name—
Trump: Where did you find this? Where did you find this? Where did you find this?
Clinton: is Alicia Machado. And she has become a U.S. citizen.
Trump: Oh really?
Clinton: And you can bet she’s going to vote this November.
At that point there was applause from the crowd. Who is Alicia Machado? She is a woman from Venezuela, who in 1996 won the then Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant and now says Trump disparaged her for her appearance and for her ethnicity. “He called me Miss Piggy,” she told Inside Edition in May. “I was very depressed.”
“After that episode, I was sick, anorexia and bulimia for five years,” Machado added. “Over the past 20 years, I’ve gone to a lot of psychologists to combat this.”
As the Huffington Post noted in its write-up at the time, Trump had described her as an “eating machine” in an interview with Howard Stern and admitted to the New York Times that he had pushed her to lose weight. The “Miss Housekeeping” remark that Machado claims he made was apparently a reference to her Latina heritage. In August, Machado became a U.S. citizen and promised that she’d be voting in this election, as Clinton noted. Machado actually responded to the debate with a photo of her passport and by renewing this promise:
This entire interaction clearly rattled Trump, who stammered:
I was going to say something extremely rough to Hillary and to her family and I said to myself, I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. It’s inappropriate. It’s not nice.
This was likely an oblique reference to the affairs of Bill Clinton, but it seemed bizarre for Trump to allude to something that everyone could figure out while taking credit for not mentioning it.
All in all, it was a high moment for Clinton in the debate and this entire campaign, and it would not have come had she not steered the debate exactly where she wanted it to go at the last possible moment.