Kayleigh McEnany smacks boss for sex tape tweet: 'I don’t think Donald Trump needs to be doing that'
Kayleigh McEnany (CNN)

One of Donald Trump's surrogates excused the candidate's continuing obsession with a former Miss Universe he bullied years ago by arguing that the woman possibly deserved the humiliating treatment she endured.

Kayleigh McEnany admitted Friday morning on CNN's "New Day" that she and other campaign advisors have urged the Republican presidential nominee to drop his attacks on Alicia Machado, the 1996 Miss Universe pageant winner, but she justified Trump's early-morning tweet storm.

"I do think that's important -- when you're on the defense, move to the offense," McEnany said, echoing a directive sent the day before by campaign officials to surrogates.

Trump has continued insulting Machado all week after Hillary Clinton mentioned her during the debate, and McEnany said she understood why her boss had urged voters to watch a sex tape in which the woman allegedly appears -- although there's no evidence that it's actually her.

"I understand his inclination to want to bring this up," McEnany said. "He's been accused of saying these horrible things about her. It's important to look into this lady's past. Go on CNN Español, you'll find an article on how a witness accused her of having a child with a drug lord. On her own airwaves, she was asked about threatening the life of (a Venezuelan judge), and she said, well that was 20 years ago."

McEnany suggested that baselessly shaming Machado for appearing in pornography -- which there's no evidence she's done -- was exactly the same as criticizing Trump for repeatedly and recently mocking the pageant winner's weight on television.

"I think when Hillary Clinton brings this up and presents her words as fact, that is to say Miss Universe's words as fact, it's important for Donald Trump to explain his side of the argument," McEnany said.

But McEnany, who this week compared Machado to a terrorist and accused Clinton of shaming women for their weight, said baseless claims were best left to surrogates.

"That being said, I think surrogates can do that, I don't think Donald Trump needs to be doing that in interviews and via Twitter," she said.

McEnany suggested that Trump might have been the victim of media mendacity, saying her boss was actually being kind by making Machado, who was his employee at the time, exercise in front of reporters on television.

"I know how frustrating it is, we played the clip of that workout video, for instance," McEnany said. "I went in and looked and looked at the full context last night, and Donald Trump actually says, 'I eat a lot, too.' A lot of Americans have issues like this. He offered to work out with her. There's more to the story than I think has been reported, and I think he wants to get that out there."