A co-host of the Miss USA pageant, Jeannie Mai, has decided to drop out because of controversial comments made by pageant co-owner and 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump.
On Monday night, the five-time co-host announced on Instagram, “I am respectfully withdrawing from my responsibilities and commitment as co-host of Miss USA.” Mai also stated, “I feel terrible that the women competing this year have fallen victim to current events.”
This marks the latest withdrawal from a pageant participant after Panama pulled out just days ago.
A week prior, Mai, the co-host of daytime talk show The Real, had said she would remain part of the Miss USA pageant.
Mai said, “I hope everyone can transcend this controversy so we don’t lose sight of that. As long as there is one woman standing there on that stage, I intend to be standing there beside her.”
Mai claims her change of heart followed a revelation that the conversation surrounding the pageant had clearly shifted, and along with it, the focus.
“Given Mr. Trump’s ongoing antics, including his most recent episode today with the current Miss Universe, it is clear that Mr. Trump’s actions have and will continue to distract focus away from the real stars of the show - the women involved in the pageant,” she wrote.
These “ongoing antics” include a tweet by Trump that came out over the weekend regarding the current Miss Universe.
Trump has been under fire for comments made during his presidential announcement speech.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said. “They’re not sending you. 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.”
Following the speech, Univision, NBCUniversal and Macy’s decided to cut business ties with Trump. Univision and NBCUniversal announced that they will not air the Miss USA pageants. NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC, NBC News and Telemundo were part of a joint venture with Trump. Macy’s also followed suit and said it will discontinue its relationship with Trump and discontinue his men’s clothing line at the store.
Trump fired back by stating, “Clearly, NBC and Macy’s support illegal immigration, which is totally detrimental to the fabric of our once great country.”
Trump also made a remark on the recent shooting death of a California 32-year-old woman by a Mexican national who had been deported back to Mexico several times. Trump said it is an example of “merely one of thousands of similar incidents throughout the United States,” adding that “infectious disease is pouring across the border.”