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Trump’s “Machado Moment” in Last Night’s Debate

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Like the Kahn Family and Judge Curiel, He Demeans a Latina Who Won Miss Universe

Washington, DC – One of the most potentially consequential moments of last night’s first presidential debate occurred when Hillary Clinton introduced viewers to the story of Alicia Machado – the Latina Miss Universe pageant winner whom Donald Trump mocked in a cruel, sexist, and yes, racist manner.

As Emily Crockett notes at Vox, “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.”

This morning, while appearing on “Fox and Friends,” Trump brought up the Machado controversy unprompted and double-downed on his attacks on Machado and her weight, saying:

“I know that person. That person was a Miss Universe person. And she was the worst we ever had, the worst, the absolute worst, she was impossible….She gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem. We had a real problem. Not only that, her attitude….Hillary went back into the years and found the girl and talked about her like she was Mother Teresa, and it wasn’t quite that way. But that’s okay.”

The fact that Machado naturalized in order to vote this year against Donald Trump is consistent with many other Americans’ stories and motivations this election season – a personal desire to participate and vote against Trump.

This morning, Greg Sargent of the Washington Post writes up the details and potential implications of the Machado controversy, writing:

“After the Democratic convention, during which Dems broadcast an unfiltered story line about Donald Trump’s bigotry and hate-mongering to an engaged national audience, Trump helpfully picked a protracted, high profile fight with the Khan family, voluntarily reinforcing many of the ugliest messages about him that came out of the Philadelphia gathering. In the wake of all of that, Trump fell well behind in the polls, though he has since closed the gap. It looks like something similar may now happen again, in the wake of last night’s debate, which has been widely proclaimed as a victory for Hillary Clinton.

…it’s remarkable that this morning he proved unable to resist taking the bait laid out for him by the Clinton campaign — right at this particular juncture, when the final battle for undecided and swing voters, many of them suburban and college educated women, begins in earnest. It seems destined to revive this whole tale and shine a glaring light on his chauvinism, just as the featuring of the Khan family at the convention baited Trump into bringing days and days of additional national attention to his hate-mongering.

During the GOP primaries, Trump’s nonstop stream of demagoguery towards Muslims — the false claim that thousands of U.S. Muslims celebrated 9/11; the flirtation with closing mosques; the oft-repeated promise to temporarily ban Muslim entry — probably helped him politically. And Trump’s carnivalesque sexism may have helped him in the GOP primaries, too, by bringing more media attention and recognition, which arguably helped boost him to the nomination. But just as Trump’s bigoted anti-Muslim abusiveness damaged him once a general election audience began paying close attention to it this summer, so too could something similar happen now with Trump’s latest display of chauvinistic abusiveness.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Immigration may not have been featured in last night’s debate, but, even so, Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-Latino animus was on full display. His racism and sexism disqualify him from being the leader of this diverse and dynamic nation.”

Follow Frank Sharry and America’s Voice on Twitter: @FrankSharry and @AmericasVoice

America’s Voice – Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform