Appearing at the Miss America Competition Sunday night, Miss Texas slammed US President Donald Trump’s response to last month’s violence at a far-right rally in Charlotesville.
On stage during the Miss America final in Atlantic City, Margana Wood, 22, avoided the tradition of giving bland and wishy-washy responses to the questions posed to her, instead taking the high-profile opportunity to rail against the president when asked her “political question” by People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly editorial director Jess Cagle.
“Last month, a demonstration of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the KKK in Charlottesville, Virginia turned violent and a counter-protester was killed,” Cagle said. “The president said there was shared blame with ‘very fine people on both sides.’ Were there? Tell me yes or no and explain.”
One woman was killed when a car driven by an avowed white supremacist plowed into a crowd of people after the rally turned violent, and numerous demonstrators were injured during the rallies on August 11 and 12.
Trump failed to single out white supremacists for their role in the bloodshed, saying there was blame “on both sides,” and that there were “very fine people” among the white supremacist protesters, who were opposing the removal of a statue honoring Civil War icon Robert E. Lee.
“I think that the white supremacist issue—it was very obvious that it was a terrorist attack,” Wood responded to Cagle, “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.”
While Wood was met with raucous applause in the hall, and a cacophony of praise on social media, it was another Trump critic who ended up taking the coveted crown.
When judges asked Miss North Dakota Cara Mund whether 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 the nationally televised finale. “There is evidence that climate change is existing, and we need to be at that table.”
Meeting with reporters afterward, 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.
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.