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Watch: How Miss America winner, contestants took on Trump in Q&A round

When judges at the Miss America competition asked Miss Dakota whether President Donald Trump was wrong to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accords, she did not hesitate.

world Updated: Sep 12, 2017 12:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Miss America,Miss Dakota,Cara Mund
Newly-crowned Miss American Cara Mund said it was a bad decision to walk out of the Paris climate deal. (Miss America/Twitter)

An Ivy League graduate headed to law school, with eyes on becoming her state’s first female governor, Miss North Dakota Cara Mund knew the importance of answering a question head-on.

So when judges at the Miss America competition asked her whether President Donald Trump was wrong to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accords that seek to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, she did not hesitate.

“It’s a bad decision,” she said during Sunday night’s nationally televised finale. “There is evidence that climate change is existing, and we need to be at that table.”

That answer helped her win the crown as Miss America 2018 at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.

Meeting with reporters afterwards, Mund said she wanted first and foremost to give a real answer to the question.

“I wasn’t really afraid if my opinion wasn’t the opinion of my judges,” she said. “Miss America needs to have an opinion and she needs to know what’s happening in the current climate.”

On Monday, after taking the winner’s traditional morning-after dip in the Atlantic City surf, Mund reiterated that the US should be part of the talks on greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming.

“My onstage question answer was just my personal opinion,” she told The Associated Press. “I think everyone has a right to think what they want. But it’s important to have a spot at the negotiating table. This isn’t necessarily: ‘Does climate change exist or not?’ but rather the fact that we’re going to keep our Earth clean for future generations, and I just think it’s really important that we have a seat there. To pull out, I think, is just really unfortunate.”

Trump, who once owned the now-shuttered Atlantic City casino next door to where Mund spoke on Monday, has said the Paris accord was a bad deal economically for the United States. He has also called global warming a hoax.

Mund wants to one day be the first woman elected governor of North Dakota. She would not say if she is registered with any political party.

“I have my personal opinions, and I’d rather say I’m not a Republican and I’m not a Democrat. I’m an American,” she said.

But it wasn’t just Miss America who turned the beauty pageant political. Each of the top 5 contestants criticised Trump -- former owner of Miss Universe pageant -- in their question-answer round on a range of issues such as white supremacy, Russian interference and 2016 election.

“The justice system should do their due diligence and they should be punished accordingly,” said Miss Missouri, Jennifer Davis, when asked if the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia, The Guardian reported.

Miss Texas, Margana Wood, was asked if Charlottesville violence -- in which a white supremacist plowed a car into a counter protester at the ‘Unite the Right’ rally -- was a terrorist attack. She said: “I think that the white supremacist issue, it was very obvious that it was a terrorist attack and I think that President Donald Trump should have made a statement earlier addressing the fact, and making sure all Americans feel safe in this country. That is the number one issue right now.”

Twitter users lauded the contestants for criticising the President on a public platform, with many saying they showed “more integrity” than Trump.

(With AP inputs)

First Published: Sep 12, 2017 12:56 IST