Thursday 22 February 2018

Trump's sex tape claims tweet 'unhinged' - Clinton

Alicia Machado smiles after winning the 1996 ''Miss Universe'' crown
Alicia Machado smiles after winning the 1996 ''Miss Universe'' crown

David Lawler in Washington

Donald Trump falsely accused a former Miss Universe of having made a sex tape and suggested Hillary Clinton had helped her gain US citizenship, in tweets sent out in the early hours of yesterday.

Mr Trump's string of online posts spanned from 3.20am to 5.30am and centred around Alicia Machado, a Venezuelan actress and Miss Universe 1996.

She has become a focal point of Mrs Clinton's campaign after Trump's comments about her weight during the 90s, as the Democratic nominee seeks to portray Mr Trump as sexist and unfit to serve as president.

Mr Trump risked giving credence to that characterisation with his Twitter posts, which were met with consternation when most of America awoke on Friday morning.

"Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a US citizen so she could use her in the debate?" he asked.

"Wow, Crooked Hillary was duped and used by my worst Miss U," he wrote.

"Hillary floated her as an 'angel' without checking her past, which is terrible!"

Mrs Clinton called Mr Trump "unhinged" yesterday in response to the posts and described the tweets as a "Machado meltdown".

"What kind of man stays up all night to smear a woman with lies and conspiracy theories?" she asked.

Mrs Clinton first mentioned Ms Machado during the first presidential debate on Monday, claiming Mr Trump had called her "Miss Piggy" because she had gained weight and "Miss Housekeeping" because of her Latina heritage.

Mr Trump subsequently defended those remarks, telling Fox News: "She was the winner, and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem."

The "sex tape" Mr Trump mentioned may have been either a pornographic video that has been falsely attributed to Ms Machado online, or an incident from a Spanish reality show when she was filmed in bed with another contestant.

Ms Machado has faced questions about her past after her sudden rise to prominence in the presidential campaign. She was accused of driving the getaway car when her boyfriend allegedly shot his brother-in-law in 1998, and of subsequently threatening the judge in the case. She was never charged with a crime, and denied threatening the judge at the time.

Mrs Clinton said yesterday that Ms Machado "deserves praise for courageously standing up to Trump's attacks".

Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon took to Twitter to ask of Trump: "What kind of human being is this?"

Her campaign chairman, John Podesta, tweeted that as a man of a certain age he shares Mr Trump's urge to get up in the middle of the night, but added a safety tip: "Don't reach for your phone."

A day earlier, Mr Trump had warned voters that a Clinton victory would bring her husband's sex scandal back to the White House.

"The American people have had it with years and decades of Clinton corruption and scandal. Corruption and scandal," Mr Trump said.

Asked if raising the affair would expose him to attacks about his own marital history, the twice-divorced Mr Trump said: "No, not at all, I have a very good history."

Ms Machado responded yesterday, accusing Mr Trump of spreading "cheap lies with bad intentions." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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