Ex-Miss Universe Alicia Machado Says She Wants to Help Clinton

Alicia Machado - Getty - H 2016
Michael Boardman/Getty Images

Trump criticized Machado for gaining weight after she won the pageant in 1996.

Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado says her experience with Donald Trump "can open eyes" in the presidential election.

Trump criticized Machado for gaining weight after she won the pageant in 1996. Hillary Clinton revived Trump's remarks in Monday night's debate, using them as an example of how the Republican treats women.

Machado spoke with reporters Tuesday in a conference call arranged by the Clinton campaign. She says she was "really surprised" to hear Clinton reference her story in the debate.

Machado says she wants to help Clinton in the election. She says, "I'm here for her."

Earlier Tuesday, Trump doubled down on his earlier statements about Machado, saying it was a "real problem" when the 1996 Miss Universe gained significant weight after winning the pageant he then owned.

The Republican presidential nominee was responding to Clinton's reference in their first debate to Machado's claim that Trump called her "Miss Piggy" when she gained weight. In the debate, Trump repeatedly challenged Clinton over where she had heard that, then dismissed Clinton's comment that Machado would vote for her with "OK, good."

Trump told Fox and Friends on Tuesday that Machado was "the worst we ever had."

Trump said, "She gained a massive amount of weight. It was a real problem. We had a real problem."