CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. — Hillary Clinton is criticizing Donald Trump’s Twitter tirade against a former beauty pageant winner, calling it “unhinged, even for him.”
“Who gets up at 3 o’clock in the morning to engage in a Twitter attack?” Clinton asked at an event in Coral Springs. She said Trump’s slew of tweets against 1996 Miss Universe Alicia Machado show that he is “temperamentally unfit” to be president.
Clinton raised Machado’s name in the first presidential debate, noting Trump’s mockery when Machado gained weight after winning Miss Universe in 1996. Trump denounced Machado in a television interview the next morning and resumed his attacks with the tweets Friday, questioning her sexual history and whether Clinton helped her become a citizen.
Clinton reached out to Machado on Friday afternoon to thank her “for all she has done and the courage she has shown,” according to campaign spokesman Nick Merrill. He said Machado promised to continue supporting her and said she would stand up to the attacks.
Campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri said Clinton did not help Machado become a citizen.
The tweetstorm sparked a day of criticism focusing on the substance of Trump’s remarks and how they derail his anti-Clinton message. At the same time, the tweets largely drowned out Clinton’s policy speech, another example of the challenge she faces as she seeks to give voters a more uplifting message — and a reason to vote for her, not just against Trump.
Earlier in the day in Fort Pierce, Florida, Clinton focused her remarks on her plans to expand public service, acknowledging that some might question her choice of subject matter.
“Some might say, ‘Well, hey, my gosh, you’ve only got 39 days to go, why aren’t you out there beating up on your opponent and doing everything to get the vote out and all the rest of it?'” Clinton said. “Well, I’ll do that. … But I’ve been thinking about this for a long time.”
During her speech, Clinton detailed her plans to enhance service opportunities. She wants to triple the size of the AmeriCorps program, add to the Peace Corps and create a new national service reserve program. Under her proposed service program, people would enroll, receive some training and then state and local leaders could call on their help during natural disasters or emergency situations.
Clinton said that service had been a priority of Republicans and Democrats in the past, but added, “I don’t think you’ll hear anything about this from my opponent.”