Donald Trump used to really hate people claiming things were ‘rigged’
Or he did in 2013
Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear that he’s mad about the “rigged political system.” Today he used the word rigged seven times in one minute.
So far he has declined to be specific about who is doing the rigging and how they are pulling it off so spectacularly. He hasn’t substantiated his claims that the opinion polls are rigged, or provided any evidence for his claim that the actual vote on November 8 will be rigged, or put meat on the bone of his hypothesis that the debate questions were rigged in Hillary Clinton’s favor.
In fact, unsubstantiated allegations of rigging have become the most important rhetorical tool in Trump’s late-campaign arsenal.
Which is funny because a few years ago, Trump’s attitude to allegations of rigging that were not fully and properly substantiated was a little different.
Ask former Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin, who accused Trump’s company of rigging Miss USA. In response to her allegations, he hit her with a $10m lawsuit. Eventually she was ordered to pay $5m.
Monnin had accused Trump’s Miss USA Pageant of deciding the top five winners in the pageant in advance. She had texted a pageant official “This is fucking rigged, Randy” and repeated the claims online.
This Guardian story explains what happened:
“During that competition, according to Monnin, another contestant, Karina Brez of Florida, insisted to several women backstage mid-pageant that she already knew who the top five final contestants would be, and specifically, that she had seen the names of the pre-selected women listed in a notebook at the back of the stage.
“Though Monnin never saw such a notebook herself, when contestants Brez had predicted were later selected, Monnin came to the conclusion that the pageant was rigged.”
On winning the suit, Trump released a press release containing the words: “We cannot allow a disgruntled contestant to make false and reckless statements…”
And then this year, in an interview with GQ, Miss Universe judge Jeff Lee kind of suggested that Trump did engage in a bit of rigging after all. As the interview narrates it:
“Lee will tell you that from 2005 until Donald Trump sold the pageant last year, the billionaire quietly handpicked as many as six semifinalists—”Trump cards,” they were called—an alleged response to the 2004 snubbing of Miss Ukraine, Oleksandra Nikolayenko, a particular favorite of Mr. Trump. Lee believes this explains the uptick in brunette Eastern European semifinalists during those years, although he stresses the presumptive Republican presidential nominee didn’t just pick Melania clones (“He liked India a lot, too”).”
As it happens, Trump has made it very clear that the only way Clinton can win Monnin’s state Pennsylvania is if… you guessed.