Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Alicia Machado Speaks Out

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Alicia Machado became an American citizen just in time to vote against Donald Trump. It’s a vote that has been a long time coming. In May 1996, the Venezuelan beauty queen was just 19 years old when she was crowned the winner of the Miss Universe pageant, which had recently been bought by the Manhattan business mogul.

But when she put on weight soon after winning, Trump turned what should have been a golden year into the most traumatizing one of her life. It wasn’t just that Trump shamed her about about gaining weight, calling her things like “Miss Piggy” and “an eating machine”. “I know what I left with him and he knows, too. And he was really aggressive. He was really rude. He was a bad person with me,” she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “AC360.”

Then on Monday night, in a twist of cosmic justice Donald Trump was presented with a bigger audience for his comments about Machado’s weight than he ever could have imagined, or wanted. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton made Trump’s remarks to Machado, citing the name-calling – in particular, Trump calling her “Miss Housekeeping” in reference to her Latina origins – as a prime example of her opponent’s demeaning views about women.

Trump’s treatment of Machado reached its nadir in January 1997 when, having put her on a stringent diet and exercise regime, he scheduled a trip with her to a gym. There he blindsided her with dozens of cameramen, who gathered to film he as she worked out. On Tuesday, Trump refused to back down from his criticism of Machado, telling “Fox and Friends” in an interview, “She was the winner and you know, she gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem.”

But as someone who straddles two powerful voting blocs this election cycle, Machado is a double threat to Trump. “If I can be a voice for my Latino community in this moment, I will do it,” she told the Guardian. A few years ago she survived a battle with breast cancer, she said she finally determined to share her story: “People believe in my words,” she said. “People look at me as a strong person. That is my character – I’m a strong woman.”

The GuardianCNN