Donald Trump was absent on Sunday as Olivia Jordan of Oklahoma was crowned Miss USA, a sign that weeks of controversy may have taken a big chunk out of the real estate mogul and reality television star’s reputation.
Trump was noticeably missing from his own pageant, and the broadcast made little mention of the controversy he has stoked in the past few weeks. Trump, who announced his intention to run for president in 2016, has come under fire for criticizing Mexican immigrants.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best; they’re not sending you,” Trump said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
The remarks caused NBC and Univision to drop the pageant and led many contestants to back out. Sunday’s pageant was broadcast on the Reelz Channel, and with Trump absent, it steered away from the controversy.
The Miss USA winner made little mention as well, MyFoxNY noted.
“We have freedom of speech in this country, and immigration is certainly an important issue,” Jordan said.
She added, “This organization is not one person. It’s definitely not just me. It’s a family. This organization celebrates diversity, and I think that was clear on the stage tonight, and I look forward to spreading a message of love and diversity and acceptance.”
The controversy cost Trump more than his attendance at the Miss USA pageant. He was also dropped by Macy’s, and many believe his reputation has taken a permanent hit. One political insider told NBC News that Trump has committed “the equivalent of professional suicide.”
Another agreed that Trump has brought the pain on himself.
“For businesses and brands, it’s one thing to be associated with a divisive and disrespectful force that you don’t as a company believe in, but when you combine that with moronic behavior it’s a double whammy,” said Lenny Stern, former political consultant and partner at agency SS+K. “It’s the idiocy of his statements and how he’s handled it.”
But politically, the hit doesn’t seem to be materializing yet. Trump has shot up the GOP polls, and is now consistently polling second behind frontrunner Jeb Bush. It remains to be seen if the numbers will hold or if his publicity has given Trump a temporary boost.
Donald Trump said there was a good reason he was absent from Sunday’s pageant. He tweeted that he would be campaigning in Phoenix.
[Picture by Paul Morigi / Getty Images]