Politics

Donald Trump says Miss Universe gained ‘a massive amount of weight’

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton spoke at their first presidential debate.

Mike Segar/REUTERS

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton spoke at their first presidential debate.

Donald Trump defended himself in a “Fox & Friends” interview a day after Hillary Clinton accused him in their first debate of calling a former Miss Universe winner “Miss Piggy.”

“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,” Trump told the hosts by phone Tuesday.

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“She was a Miss Universe contestant and ultimately a winner who they had a tremendously difficult time with as Miss Universe. She was the winner, and you know she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem,” Trump said.

During the debate, Clinton attacked Trump’s past remarks about women and accused him of making disparaging comments toward Alicia Machado, a former Miss Venezuela who won the Miss Universe pageant in 1996.

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“This is a man who has called women pigs slobs and dogs,” Clinton said Monday night. “One of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest, he loves beauty contests.”

“He called this woman ‘Miss Piggy,’ then he called her ‘Miss Housekeeping’ because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name. Her name is Alicia Machado, and she has become a US citizen and you can bet she’s going to vote this November,” Clinton said during the debate.

Machado told reporters Tuesday in a conference call arranged by the Clinton campaign that her experience with Trump could ‘‘open eyes’’ in the presidential election. She said she was ‘‘really surprised’’ to hear Clinton refer to her story during the debate — she said she was overcome with emotion and started crying — but said she wanted to help Clinton in the election.

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Trump did not directly address Clinton’s accusation during the debate Monday, turning instead to the Clinton campaign’s attack ads against him and hinting that he was holding back an attack on her family.

“I was going to say something extremely rough to Hillary, to her family, and I said to myself I can’t do it,” he said.

Trump clarified Tuesday during the same Fox interview that he was referring to former President Bill Clinton’s history of infidelity.

“I was going to hit her with her husband’s women, and I decided I shouldn’t do it,” Trump said.

Watch the interview:

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.
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