Trump official tried to defend his 5 a.m. tweet about sex tapes. It got very awkward.

“Perhaps there are people up interested in issues.”

CREDIT: MSNBC screengrab
CREDIT: MSNBC screengrab

Donald Trump was slut-shaming before the sun came up on Friday. He fired off a string of tweets smearing former Miss Universe Alicia Machado at 5:30 in the morning, calling her “disgusting” and referencing a “sex tape.”

Even before that, he was tweeting. At 3:20 a.m. ET on Friday, Trump — who sleeps only four hours a night — posted some media criticism:

(Recall that one of Trump’s most notorious tweets consisted of him citing an unnamed “extremely credible source” who told him President Obama’s birth certificate “is a fraud.”)

During an MSNBC interview later Friday morning, Trump surrogate and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) was asked by host Stephanie Ruhle whether she thinks it’s “a good strategy” for Trump to use his extra hours of wakefulness to smear women.

Rutledge, who’s is also a member of Trump’s agriculture advisory committee, responded by saying she’s “a fan of tweeting during the waking hours of most folks and so I’m not up tweeting at 3 a.m. generally, so I don’t know that that’s great advice.”

But Rutledge then suggested that perhaps Trump is just so interested in the “issues” that he can’t wait to get up and start weighing in.

“Perhaps there are people up interested in issues at 3 a.m.” she said.

Rutledge went on to concede that “it is ill-advised to viciously attack women or anyone for that matter,” but quickly pivoted to making a case that “when you look at how Hillary Clinton has treated those women during the 1990s and [tried to] destroy them, Donald Trump’s actions pale in comparison to Hillary Clinton’s actions.”

In talking points distributed yesterday,the Trump campaign advised surrogates to use the Machado fiasco as an opportunity to talk about Bill Clinton’s infidelities and attack Hillary Clinton. Trump, however, is having a hard time pivoting — Friday marks the fifth day of his ongoing feud with Machado.