WASHINGTON - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump deepened his attacks on a former beauty queen Alicia Machado on Friday, calling her disgusting and alleging the existence of a sex tape as he refused to back away from an issue that threatens to damage his already weak standing among women and Hispanics.
Trump's Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, raised Trump's treatment of the Venezuelan-born former Miss Universe as an example of how he views women during the two candidates' first debate on Monday night. Clinton said Trump, the former owner of the Miss Universe pageants, had called Machado "Miss Piggy" and also "Miss Housekeeping" because she was a Latina.
Trump did not apologize then and in a television interview the following day he strongly criticized Machado for having gained weight after she won the Miss Universe title in 1996.
With less than six weeks to go until the Nov. 8 election, Trump has refused to let the issue fade and he went on a pre-dawn tirade on Twitter on Friday.