Miss America Contestant Madeline Collins Says Trump ‘The Biggest Issue Our Country Faces’

Miss America
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As the inaugural Miss America pageant comes to a head in its final days, being held in Atlantic City, at least one of the contestants is having some serious reservations about the state of the union, according to USA Today. Madeline Collins, this year’s Miss West Virginia, gave a rather controversial answer during last night’s interview portion of the pageant when she was put to the question of what she felt was the most serious issue facing the nation.

“Donald Trump is the biggest issue our country faces. Unfortunately, he has caused a lot of division in our country.”

Collins did not elaborate any further on her answer, whether out of personal choice or due to the fairly short interval that interviewees are given to answer the question. Each Miss America contestant is given just 20 seconds to give an appropriate answer to each question posed to them during this portion of the pageant. Though the Associated Press attempted to track down Miss West Virginia for further comment after the close of Friday night’s competition, the pageant organizers did not respond to this request in the affirmative.

Collins did not, however, win the interview portion of the contest. According to CBS News, that particular honor went to Miss Massachusetts Gabriela Taveras, who was charged with offering an answer to the question of how Americans traveling abroad should engage with citizens of their host countries. Taveras was open-minded and benevolent when framing her answer, keeping in mind a traditional American spirit of giving and sacrifice, emphasizing the nation’s capacity for foreign aid.

“We as Americans are supporting them and that we are there to help them.”

The stages of the competition last night marked the third and final evening comprising the preliminary rounds. Earlier in the competition, other hot topics have been raised and questions put to the Miss America hopefuls — including but not limited to the ongoing NFL protests, police brutality, and body positivity.

This year marks the first competition for the Miss America crown that does not feature the famous swimsuit competition, which has been replaced by an extended interview portion in a controversial move. Proponents for keeping the swimsuit portion of the contest argue that it is a longstanding tradition that is integral to the spirit of the Miss American pageant, while critics — successful in their argument — proposed that the change is part and parcel of a modernized and progressive pageant.

The young woman who will eventually be crowned Miss America will succeed in the last stages of the competition, with the finale being scheduled to be broadcast from Atlantic City on Sunday evening.