Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado: Watching Donald Trump Run for President Is a ‘Bad Dream’

Alicia Machado

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is making the most of a key moment from Monday night’s debate — when she talked of how Donald Trump called Miss Universe Alicia Machado names like “Miss Piggy” after she gained weight.

On Tuesday, the Clinton campaign held a press call with Machado, who is now an actress and businesswoman. In Spanish, Machado said that she cried as Clinton mentioned her story.

“To me, these elections are a bad dream,” Machado told reporters in English.

She said that she has not seen Trump since her Miss Universe year, 1996, but she said that it took her several years to recover from an eating disorder after he berated her publicly for her weight gain. That year, he even gathered members of the media to accompany him as he went to a gym with her. “This is somebody who likes to eat,” he said, according to the New York Times.

On Tuesday, Machado said that he treated the pageant, which he had just purchased, like a “new toy” and a modeling agency.

“I was trying to forget [about] that bad experience with Mr. Trump,” she said. “I never saw him anymore and I never want to see him again, either.”

Machado also appeared in a web video that the Clinton campaign released after the debate — so she clearly was prepared to relay the story. Machado says that Trump also called her “Miss Housekeeping.” She is Venezuelan but recently became a U.S. citizen.

On “Fox & Friends,” Trump said that Machado “was the winner, and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem… not only that, her attitude.” He said that Clinton “found the girl and talked about her like she was Mother Teresa, and it wasn’t quite that way, but that’s OK. Hillary has to do what she has to do.” Trump called Machado “impossible” and “the worst.”

Machado said that she can’t believe that Trump is now in the presidential race.

“I never imagined something like this,” she said.

At the debate, after Clinton brought up Machado’s story, Trump responded, “Where did you find this?” He later criticized Clinton for her negative campaign commercials, but then seemed to explain his comments by pointing to Rosie O’Donnell, with whom he had a long and bitter feud.

“Some of it’s said in entertainment,” Trump said. “Some of it’s said… somebody who’s been very vicious to me, Rosie O’Donnell, I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her.”

She praised Clinton, and said that he hoped her story “can open eyes in this election.”