After being caught off-guard by a withering surprise attack from Hillary Clinton that left him reaching desperately for a response near the end of Monday night’s first presidential debate in Hempstead, New York, Donald Trump woke up early Tuesday morning and phoned in to Fox & Friends on the Fox News Channel to, it would seem, make an attempt at damage control. But Trump’s idea of damage control, if indeed that’s what it was, seems counterintuitive at best. Trump answered a range of questions from the Fox News hosts on the “debate of debates,” as Trump put it, but when it came to that controversial moment when Clinton accused him of once disparaging Alicia Machado, the 1996 winner of the Miss Universe pageant, by allegedly having called her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeper,” he went on the offensive. When Trump was asked if there’s anything he would’ve rephrased, his response began, “Well, when she hit me at the end with the women, I was going to hit her with her husband’s women.” But eventually he justified his criticism of Machado, confessing that Clinton had gotten under his skin.
“She was the worst,” Trump said of Machado. “She was the winner and she gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem,” he added. “Not only that — her attitude. And we had a real problem with her.” Trump was the owner of the pageant at the time. “So, Hillary went back into the years and she found this girl — this was many years ago. And found the girl and talked about her like she was Mother Theresa. And it wasn’t quite that way, but that’s OK. Hillary has to do what she has to do.”
Watch the exchange from the debate below.
— Mashable News (@MashableNews) September 27, 2016
Machado, then a citizen of Venezuela, recently became a U.S. citizen, Clinton said in the dramatic moment onstage late in the debate. “And you can bet she is going to vote this November,” she informed Trump.
Watch Trump’s full interview on Fox News below.