By Sophie Driscoll ’19, Opinions Editor
Between 3:20 A.M. and 5:30 A.M. on Friday, while most of the country was asleep, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was firing off a series of tweets referring to former Miss Universe Alicia Machado as “disgusting” and his “worst Miss U,” questioning her citizenship and referencing a non-existent sex tape.
Trump’s sexist, hurtful rhetoric disgusts me, yet unfortunately, it does not surprise me. Nor does the fact that Trump is publicly questioning the citizenship of a woman of Venezuelan descent. The incident is yet another clear display of his sexist and racist beliefs.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton successfully baited Trump into this frenzy (which almost borders on mania) during the presidential debate on September 26 by mentioning how Trump humiliated the Venezuelan-born American actress after she won the Miss Universe pageant in 1996.
Trump, who owned the pageant at the time, ridiculed Machado for gaining weight. He referred to her using various derogatory titles, such as “Miss Piggy” and an “eating machine,” according to Machado.
That same year, he invited the press to watch her exercise in a Manhattan gym. Trump, wearing a suit and tie, posed for photographs next to Machado as she exercised. “This is somebody who likes to eat,” he said while inside the gym.
Machado stated that, as one would imagine, Trump’s shameful bullying caused severe psychological trauma. “I was sick [with] anorexia and bulimia for five years,” she told The New York Times in May. “I was 18. My personality wasn’t created yet. I was just a girl.”
What is perhaps most interesting about the entire situation is how Trump has perpetuated the controversy instead of attempting to move on. Rather than simply apologizing for behaving in a way that was degrading to women and clearly detrimental to the mental health of a teenage girl in 1996, he has stubbornly defended his behavior and made several insulting statements regarding Machado (such as the ones posted on Twitter in the middle of the night). He can’t seem to stop digging himself into a deeper hole.
Trump is making it perfectly clear that he is not only sexist and racist, but foolishly immature and childish. It is not acceptable for anyone to display these characteristics, especially the leader of the free world.