Stand up for facts and support PolitiFact.

Now is your chance to go on the record as supporting trusted, factual information by joining PolitiFact’s Truth Squad. Contributions or gifts to PolitiFact, which is part of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Poynter Institute, are tax deductible.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson October 9, 2016

Trump's Pants on Fire about his early-morning tweet on Alicia Machado

During the second presidential debate, Donald Trump took issue with moderator Anderson Cooper’s description of an early morning tweet he had sent out about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado.

Machado emerged up as an issue in the campaign during the first debate, when Hillary Clinton cited Machado’s allegations that Trump had called the Venezuela-born contestant "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping" after she’d gained weight as Miss Universe. At the time, Trump was part-owner of the pageant.

The next morning, Trump criticized Machado during a Fox and Friends interview. And Trump eventually brought the feud to Twitter.

In the second debate on Oct. 9, Cooper cited the tweet in a question about whether Trump has the right temperament to be president.

"In the days after the first debate, you sent out a series of tweets from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m., including one that told people to check out a sex tape," Cooper said. "Is that the discipline of a good president?"

Trump responded, "No, it wasn’t saying, ‘check out a sex tape.’ It was just ‘take a look at the person she built up to be this wonderful girl scout, who was no girl scout.’ "

Maybe that’s what Trump wanted people to read into it. But he did, in fact, direct his followers to check out a sex tape.

In the tweet -- sent at 5:30 a.m. ET on Sept. 30 -- Trump wrote, "Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?"

(For the record, no one has turned up a sex tape.)

Our ruling

Trump said the tweet he sent out "wasn’t saying, ‘check out a sex tape’"  but rather to "just take a look at" Machado’s background.

That’s ridiculous. While Trump did urge his Twitter followers to check out Machado’s "past," he literally wrote "check out sex tape" in the tweet.

We rate his statement Pants on Fire!

https://www.sharethefacts.co/share/c43aeea6-512d-4b14-a42a-80b0955e4504

Our Sources

Donald Trump, remarks at the second presidential debate in St. Louis, Oct. 9, 2016

Donald Trump, tweet, Sept. 30, 2016

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Louis Jacobson

Trump's Pants on Fire about his early-morning tweet on Alicia Machado

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up