Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump continued to attack former Miss Universe Alicia Machado on Friday, firing off a string of tweets in the early-morning hours calling the former beauty queen “disgusting,” a “con” and “my worst Miss [Universe].” The tweets started at 5:14 a.m.
The response is typical of Trump, who tends to lash out -- against some of his closest advisers’ advice -- via Twitter. But as his campaign has sought in recent weeks to soften the candidate’s persona, Machado seems to have gotten under his skin.
The tirade was swiftly and widely criticized even by Republican analysts, who suggested Trump had reached a new low.
“Trump's gone from erratic to unhinged, from vulgar to gross, from unfit to be president to unfit to be called sane,” wrote Republican strategist Ana Navarro on Twitter.
In response to the early-morning tweetstorm, Machado posted a picture of herself draped in an American flag on Instagram, and wrote (in Spanish):
“The Republican candidate and his campaign are again generating attacks and insults and trying to revive defamations and false accusations about my life. All of this with the purpose of intimidating me, humiliating me and destabilizing me once again. The attacks that have emerged are cheap lies and slanders with no foundation in truth, generated with bad intentions, and spread by sensationalist media. This, of course, is not the first time that I have faced such a situation. Through his campaign of hate, the Republican candidate seeks to discredit and demoralize women, which is definitely one of his most terrifying traits. With this, he seeks to distract attention from his real problems and from the fact that he is not qualified to lead this great country.”
Machado, a Venezuelan-born actress and beauty queen, now 39, won the Miss Universe crown in Las Vegas in 1996, the year that Donald Trump bought the enterprise. But a few months after the coronation, her relationship with the magnate soured.
Now, she’s become a fierce supporter of Hillary Clinton, and a surrogate for the campaign.
During Monday night’s debate, Clinton brought up Machado as an example of Trump’s sexism, saying the candidate had called the former beauty queen “Miss Piggy,” and then “Miss Housekeeping because she was Latina.”
The following day, Machado told the press Trump is a “sexist misogynist” who treated her like “garbage.” Since then, Machado has appeared on a number of news programs bashing the candidate. She told of an incident in 1996 in which Trump publicly humiliated her for gaining weight.
Trump has held firm this week that Machado’s weight and attitude were both problems after the coronation. His campaign has also tried to paint Machado as a criminal.
In 1998, before moving to the United States, Machado was accused in Venezuela of aiding in an attempted murder alongside her then boyfriend Juan Rafael Rodríguez Reggeti. The accusations did not result in conviction.
There’s no evidence of a sex tape. Instead, that rumor could be an insinuation to a scene in a Spanish reality show called "La Granja de los famosos" ("The Farm"), where an on-screen affair led to Machado's separation from Venezuelan baseball player Bob Abreu in 2005.
A little after 11:00 a.m. Friday morning, Clinton called Trump’s tweetstorm a “Machado meltdown.”
“What kind of man stays up all night to smear a woman with lies and conspiracy theories?” Clinton tweeted. “This is...unhinged, even for Trump.”
Late in the day Friday, Buzzfeed reported that Donald Trump appeared in an explicit 2000 Playboy video.
"Trump’s role in the porn is relatively benign and centers around him breaking a bottle of champagne on a Playboy-branded limo while several of the playmates are visiting New York City," BuzzFeed reported. "BuzzFeed News obtained the footage from the online-only Buffalo, New York-based adult video store Cinema Cornucopia."
Other scenes from the film include "fully nude women posing in sexual positions, dancing naked, touching themselves while naked, touching each other sensually, rubbing honey on themselves, taking a bath, and dressing in costumes."
Juliana Jimenez contributed to this report.