Madeline Collins, Miss West Virginia, made the comment Friday night during the last preliminary stage of the competition in Atlantic City, N.J. ABC will broadcast the crowning of Miss America in a live broadcast Sunday night hosted by Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba.
Collins was asked an onstage question Friday night about what she feels is the most serious issue facing the nation. According to the AP, she replied, “Donald Trump is the biggest issue our country faces. Unfortunately he has caused a lot of division in our country.”
Contestants’ responses are limited to 20 seconds, so Collins did not add any other details.
The comments are just the latest commotion for the nearly century-old pageant.
Organizers have announced sweeping changes for 2019, including the controversial elimination of the swimsuit portion of the event. There has also been turmoil within the organization and calls earlier this month by former Miss America winners Suzette Charles (Miss America 1984) and Heather Whitestone (Miss America 1995) for the resignation of board chairman (and former Miss America). Officials said they confirmed Cara Mund’s claims that Carlson bullied her and others. Carlson has denied the allegations.
In an interview on Megyn Kelly’s NBC show last month, two former Miss America winners told her they thought Miss America CEO Regina Hopper should “absolutely” resign due to all of the controversy.