The story of how Trump treated Alicia Machado is truly ugly. Janell Ross reported on it today in the Washington Post:
The Clinton campaign viewed Machado’s experience with Trump behavior as so damning that Monday night, the campaign released a new commercial — almost a short documentary — featuring Machado. Speaking in Spanish, Machado described Trump as a man filled with grudges, racism and frightening anger, a man who contributing to her struggle with an eating disorder and, in keeping with another Trump critique Clinton raised on the debate stage, the owner of the pageant which did not pay her what she was due under the terms of her contract.
He defended his non-payment of contractors and others during the debate by shouting that their work wasn’t good enough. I guess he decided that he didn’t have to pay Machado because her body wasn’t thin enough?
Machado went into the pageant hoping it would lead to a career in entertainment.
Trump purchased the Miss Universe pageant just in time to become her boss. All Machado knew was that Trump, a wealthy American businessman, had big plans to boost the pageant’s profile and profits.
In the end, she came to view Trump as an insensitive bigot, a misogynist who seemed to view the pageant and pageant contestants alike as his personal property, Machado told me in an interview earlier this year for the Washington Post’s Trump biography, “Trump Revealed.”
“Now, 20 years later, I can not believe that piece of shit could possibly be president,” said Machado. “It was a nightmare I wouldn’t want my daughter or any other little girl in this country to ever, ever encounter. This man behaved like a tyrant when I was Miss Universe and has behaved like a potential despot during this campaign. He lacks the basic skills to govern and is not a good human being.”
That’s what I keep saying. He’s not a good human being. You can watch him and read up on him forever and not find one good thing about him. He’s a bully, he’s cruel, he steals from people less rich and powerful than he is, he lies, he cheats, he talks shit about women, he’s a racist. He’s not a good human being. I don’t recall ever thinking that about any other candidate – I don’t recall ever thinking Bush Junior or Reagan was terrible to everyone.
Over the course of the year that Machado held the Miss Universe title — and, as Trump often reminded her, worked for him — she would feel intense pressure to shed the weight pounds Trump told many, many television reporters, viewers and magazine readers that Machado had gained. He considered it an outrage, a potential violation of her contract. That in turn prompted officials with the Miss Venezuala pageant system to also comment on Machado’s weight in both the English and Spanish-speaking international press.
The only upside that Trump could see: potential weight-loss related endorsement deals for Machado. Under the terms of her contract, The Miss Universe organization would get the majority cut. To drum up interest and keep the press focused on Machado’s weight, Trump set up a workout with a trainer at a Manhattan gym. When Machado arrived, the trainer, Trump and a bank of mostly male reporters and photographers were waiting. Trump insisted that she follow the trainer though a full workout. As Machado did jumping jacks, sweated her way though the trainer’s routine and rode a stationary bike, the photographers stationed just a few feet way snapped pictures and made comments, she said. Some of the footage of this moment appears in the new Clinton ad.
Some news reports at the time indicated that Machado had already engaged in long hours of exercise and severe food restriction to get in what Venezuelan pageant directors described as ideal shape. And, Machado admits, she became more difficult, less compliant, more willing to stand up for herself in the Miss Universe office, to reject appearances Trump wanted her to do and to demand that her handlers put more charity work on her schedule.
That combination was too much for Trump, Machado said.
It prompted Trump to ask Machado and Miss Universe staff — who Machado said were often aghast — ‘who she thought she was,’ on multiple occasions. In both angry conversations and casual ones, Trump referred to Machado as “Miss Piggy,” “Miss Housekeeper,” and “Miss Housekeeping,” who should know her place and do as she was told. He said it to her face. And he said it to Miss Universe staff.
Who, I wonder, does he think he is?
Machado did get work in the entertainment industry, and is a permanent US resident with a green card; her daughter is a US citizen and also a citizen of Mexico.
When Trump declared that he would compete for the White House and, in the same speech, described illegal Mexican immigrants are “rapists” and “criminals,” Machado says she was alarmed and sickened. As his campaign developed, it became clear that Trump’s thinking, his attitudes and opinions had not really changed, Machado said.
“It became clear to me that hate and ugliness, disrespect for women, for Latinos, for African Americans is part of this man’s political philosophy,” Machado said. “This is the way his mind works.”
If you can call it a mind. It’s more like a set of blurts and urges.
In June, Machado joined Clinton supporter Delores Huerta at a press conference where she explained that her concerns for what effect a President Trump might have on America had prompted her to become a U.S. citizen who can vote in November. Her reasoning is both personal and political.
“He is a danger to this beautiful country,” Machado said, “which I love, and feel an obligation to protect from men like Donald Trump on behalf of my daughter, on behalf of women, mothers, Latinas like me. He is a threat to democracy.”
He’s a blight on this country. He’s the shame of this country.