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Trump, who owned the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA pageants from 1996 until last year, has publicly bragged about invading beauty queen dressing rooms, calling it one of his prerogatives of ownership.“I’ll tell you the funniest is that I’ll go backstage before a show and everyone’s getting dressed,” Trump told Howard Stern in recordings released Saturday by CNN. ’ You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. ’ And you see these incredible looking women, and so I sort of get away with things like that.”Until now it was never alleged that this behavior extended to the teen pageant, in which contestants can be as old as 19 or as young as 14.
“No men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in, because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it. The Trump campaign and the Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment.
Of the 11 women who said they don’t remember Trump coming into the changing room, some said it was possible that it happened while they weren’t in the room or that they didn’t notice.
But most were dubious or dismissed the possibility out of hand.“There were so many chaperones I can’t even fathom” him doing so, said Jessica Granata, the former Miss Massachusetts Teen USA.
Cutting through the middle of the room were racks of clothing.
Girls did not have individual partitions shielding their station from the rest of the space, and it was often bustling with stylists, pageant officials, and other crew members coming and going.
Discussion of Trump entering the room arose among the women themselves last weekend in a private Facebook group after Buzz Feed News reported that a contestant in an adult pageant said Trump had walked into the changing room when “we were all naked.” The Facebook group is open only to some former contestants in the 1997 pageant, according to several women who are in it and who described the exchange about Trump to Buzz Feed News.
Students said they were compelled to march Friday morning because mass shootings continue to happen at schools across the country.Of the other three who remember Trump coming into the dressing room, one said she was also undecided but would not vote for Trump, and another said she’s a Democrat.A third said she was not voting for Trump and wouldn’t say more because “this is not about politics.” But, she added, “When he started running for president, that is one of the first things I thought about: Oh, gross, this guy walked in on us in the pageant.” Girls were “just scrambling to grab stuff,” she said, “whatever garments they had.”One of the other women who asked to be anonymous, who was 17, said, “At the time, you’re a teenager, you’re intimidated — it’s Donald Trump, he runs the pageant.” And it felt, she said, like “it was his given right” to enter the dressing rooms “because he owned the pageant.”She added, “We were all very young, but even at the time, it caught us funny.” Now, “as an adult and as a mother,” she said she finds it “absolutely inappropriate.”The third woman who asked to be anonymous was 15 at the time and said she was fully dressed and doing her makeup when Trump walked in.“I barely let anybody except my sister see me getting dressed.”She viewed Trump’s intrusion into the dressing room “was more of a pompous ‘I own this place’ rather than a perverted thing.” Still, she said, “I would never let my daughter run for a pageant that he owns.” Kendall Taggart is an investigative data reporter for Buzz Feed News and is based in New York.Her secure PGP fingerprint is 4148 BEAD 45CF E7D3 84CC F602 ABF3 469D E2F7 D8A0 Contact Kendall Taggart at [email protected]
The march is a way of taking action to get the attention of lawmakers who they're asking to come up with a better approach to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them in the first place.