CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- Speaking at a raucous late afternoon rally here on Friday, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton mocked Republican Donald Trump’s early-morning tweet storm, calling it a “meltdown.”
“Who gets up at 3 o’clock in the morning to engage in a Twitter attack against a former Miss Universe?” she asked incredulously. “Really, why does he do things like that?" Clinton told the crowd that Trump’s behavior was “unhinged” and was further evidence that he is “temperamentally unfit to be president of the United States.”
“A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not be anywhere near the nuclear codes,” Clinton said.
Her stinging comments referred to Trump's disparagement of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado's character on Twitter. In a string of tweets posted between 3 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. Friday, Trump called Machado “disgusting” and “a con” and accused her of having a "sex tape.”
Trump’s tweet burst stoked a controversy over his comments about Machado’s weight gain in the months after she won the Miss Universe pageant in 1996. Trump’s public treatment of Machado at the time has been at the center of intense scrutiny since Clinton brought it up during Monday’s presidential debate.
Hours after Trump’s tweet storm, Clinton’s campaign took to Twitter. “This is … unhinged, even for Trump,” Clinton said in one tweet sent out on her official account.
“What kind of man stays up all night to smear a woman with lies and conspiracy theories?” the Democratic nominee said in another.
And then this: “When something gets under Donald's thin skin, he lashes out and can't let go. This is dangerous for a president.”
Clinton's efforts to call more attention to the early-morning episode came during a daylong swing through Florida, an important presidential battleground state. Earlier in the day, Clinton delivered a speech on national service in Fort Pierce.
“While Donald continues day 5 of his Machado meltdown, we'll be in Florida talking about national service,” Clinton tweeted in advance of the speech. “You'll want to watch.”
After the speech, Clinton called Machado, according to Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill. Clinton thanked Machado for her courage during “a war of pretty unpleasant words,” Merrill said. Merrill said Machado relayed her plans to vote for the first time and to vote for Clinton and told her that she is an inspiration to women. The conversation last about five minutes, he said.
Clinton’s aides and advisers also took aim at Trump via Twitter on Friday.
“I'm almost @realDonaldTrump's age, so get the urge to get up in the middle of the night, but impt safety tip: don't reach for your phone,” said John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman.
“Oh look, Trump is dominating the news cycle again,” Clinton’s press secretary, Brian Fallon, said on Twitter, adding sarcastically: “Whatever will we do.”