Talk of sex tapes take pres­i­den­tial cam­paign on sor­did turn

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

GRAND RAPIDS — Don­ald Trump is en­cour­ag­ing vot­ers to check out a “sex tape” fea­tur­ing the for­mer beauty queen with whom he’s feud­ing. Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cam­paign is sug­gest­ing that a bet­ter rental is the adult film in which Trump him­self ap­pears.

With the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign tak­ing a sor­did turn on Fri­day, even many of Trump’s sup­port­ers shook their heads, wor­ried that their can­di­date’s lat­est out­burst could fur­ther hurt him among fe­male vot­ers al­ready scep­ti­cal but whose sup­port he’ll badly need to win in Novem­ber.

The Repub­li­can nom­i­nee’s a pre-dawn Twit­ter tirade tore into the 1996 Miss Uni­verse, Ali­cia Machado, a Venezuela-born woman whose weight gain Trump has said cre­ated ter­ri­ble prob­lems for the pageant he owned at the time. Clin­ton had cited Trump’s treat­ment of Machado near the end of their first de­bate, and Trump has spent days re­vis­it­ing his com­plaints about Machado.

“Did Crooked Hil­lary help dis­gust­ing (check out sex tape and past) Ali­cia M be­come a US cit­i­zen so she could use her in the de­bate?” read a tweet Trump posted at 0530hrs, one in a se­ries of at­tacks on her.

The “sex tape” tweet ap­par­ently re­ferred to footage from a Span­ish re­al­ity show in 2005 in which Machado was a con­tes­tant and ap­peared on cam­era in bed with a male con­tes­tant. The images are grainy and do not in­clude nu­dity, though Machado later ac­knowl­edged in the His­panic me­dia that she was hav­ing sex in the video.

Mud­dy­ing the wa­ters: an ex­plicit 2000 Play­boy video with a cameo by Trump. In a short clip posted on the web­site Buz­zFeed, Trump pours a bot­tle of cham­pagne on a Play­boy-branded limo on a New York street, sur­rounded by a gag­gle of women.

“There’s been a lot of talk about sex tapes to­day and in a strange turn of events only one adult film has emerged to­day, and its star is Don­ald Trump,” said Clin­ton spokesper­son Nick Mer­rill, adding he hadn’t seen the film.

Mean­while, Trump’s cam­paign ac­cused the me­dia and Clin­ton of col­lud­ing to set him up for fresh con­dem­na­tion, to which Clin­ton re­torted, “His lat­est twit­ter melt­down is un­hinged, even for him.”

Machado her­self took to Face­book to say Trump’s tweets were part of a pat­tern of “de­mor­al­is­ing women,” call­ing them “cheap lies with bad in­ten­tions.” Planned Par­ent­hood said it showed that Trump’s “misog­yny knows no bounds.” And Clin­ton said they showed anew why some­one with Trump’s tem­per­a­ment “should not be any­where near the nu­clear codes.”

With less than 40 days left in the elec­tion, Trump’s broad­side threw his cam­paign into a fresh round of sec­ond-guess­ing the can­di­date’s in­stincts and con­fu­sion about what to do next. To be­liev­ers in tra­di­tional po­lit­i­cal norms, it seemed like the op­po­site of what was needed to win over fe­males, His­pan­ics and young Amer­i­cans whose sup­port could well de­ter­mine the elec­tion.

Sham­ing Machado over in­ti­mate de­tails from her past could be par­tic­u­larly risky as Trump tries to win over more fe­male vot­ers, many of whom are turned away by such per­sonal at­tacks. It also risks call­ing fur­ther at­ten­tion to the thrice-mar­ried Trump’s own his­tory with women.

What kind of a man, Clin­ton asked, “stays up all night to smear a woman with lies and con­spir­acy the­o­ries?”

Even Trump’s most vo­cal al­lies seemed at a loss for words.

“He’s be­ing Trump. I don’t have any com­ment be­yond that,” said for­mer House Speaker Newt Gin­grich, a top sup­porter. Gen­er­ally chatty and oc­ca­sion­ally crit­i­cal of Trump, Gin­grich said tersely that Trump some­times does “strange things,” but that Clin­ton lies. “I’ll let you de­cide which is worse for Amer­ica.”

But Trump’s in­ner cir­cle fol­lowed his lead by re­fus­ing to con­cede any mis­steps. Trump didn’t men­tion the tweets on Fri­day evening as he ral­lied sup­port­ers in Michi­gan.

In­stead, he re­turned to Twit­ter to in­voke Clin­ton’s fa­mous ad from her 2008 cam­paign por­tray­ing her as the best can­di­date to pick up an ur­gent call at the White House at 0300hrs.

“For those few peo­ple knock­ing me for tweet­ing at three o’clock in the morn­ing, at least you know I will be there, awake, to an­swer the call!” Trump wrote. — Al Jazeera

Don­ald Trump

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