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Donald Trump on former Miss Universe: "I saved her job"

Trump's fat backlash

Republican nominee Donald Trump doubled down on his criticism of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, saying Wednesday night that she should be grateful because he “saved her job” by asking her to lose weight.

“She did not do well. She had a lot of difficulties. And, you know, they wanted to fire her,” he told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly in an interview. “I saved her job because they wanted to fire her for putting on so much weight. And it is a beauty contest. You know, I mean, say what you want, Bill, I mean, they know what they’re getting into.”

Donald Trump and Alicia Machado's 1997 interview with CBS News

During Monday night’s presidential debate between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Clinton brought up Machado by name as an example of Trump’s derogatory treatment of women. “He called this woman ‘Miss Piggy,’ then he called her ‘Miss Housekeeping’ because she was Latina,’” Clinton said. “Donald, she has a name.”

On Wednesday night, Trump said he barely knew Machado, and interacted with her for only about “five minutes” during the Miss Universe process.

“I had nothing to do with this person, but they wanted to fire her,” he said. “I saved her job because I said that’s going to be ruinous. And I’ve done that with a number of the young ladies where I saved their job.”

Trump said he was just trying to help Machado and got “nothing” in the process. “Look what I get out of it? I get nothing,” he added.

Trump also alluded to stories about Machado’s colorful past, saying it could “make Hillary look extremely bad.”

“Now a lot of things are coming out that I wasn’t aware of, like they say that she threatened the life of a judge and got involved in all sorts of problems,” he said. “...And you know, I mean, if that turns out to be true, a lot of the things that are turning out to be, perhaps, true, I think it’s going to make Hillary look extremely bad.”