Pushing back and not backing down. Donald Trump is defending himself for once calling former Miss Universe Alicia Machado “Miss Piggy.”
As previously reported, the Venezuela native, now 39, won the Miss Universe title at age 19, in 1996. The GOP presidential candidate, 70, would go on to tell Howard Stern in 1997 that Machado “gained a massive amount of weight” and she “had a real problem.”
Trump defended his past remarks during The O’Reilly Factor on Wednesday, September 28. “I mean, look, I hardly know this person. This was a person 20 years ago. She wasn’t a successful, you know, I sold the Miss Universe contest for a tremendous price about, you know, six months ago. Worked out great,” he told host Bill O’Reilly. (The media mogul sold the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants to WME/IMG in September 2015.)
“I will bet you if you put up and added up all the time I spoke to her, probably less than five minutes,” he continued. “It is a beauty contest. Say what you want, Bill. They know what they are getting into.”
In fact, Trump claimed that he helped save Machado’s job at the time. “She did not do well. She had a lot of difficulties and you know, they wanted to fire her. The company itself wanted to fire her,” he said. “I said don’t do that; let her try and lose the weight. Can you imagine I end up in a position like this?”
“Her name is Alicia Machado, and she has become a U.S. citizen,” the Democratic presidential nominee, 68, said. “And you can bet she’s going to vote this November.”
The actress-singer opened up about Trump during an interview with the Today show on Wednesday. She said that her self-esteem at the time was “on the floor” because of Trump, and the incident contributed to her eating disorder.
“That same person I knew, I see in each one of his speeches. And I see it getting worse and I see it even more harmful and even more damaging,” she said. “I never thought, and I never imagined then 20 years later, I’ll be in this position — watching this guy again doing stupid things and stupid comments,” she added. “I’m not a beauty queen, I’m not Miss Universe anymore, I’m a worker, I’m a mother. I have a family, I have a career, I have a business and, you know, if my story can open eyes for this election that is what I’m trying to do.”
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!