Miss Texas wins fans nationwide with interview answer

Tom Uhler
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Miss Texas didn’t win the Miss America contest Sunday night but she was getting much of the buzz afterward for calling out President Donald Trump for his comments about shared blame in the violence in Charlottesville, Va., last month.

A counterprotester was killed during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, and Trump commented that there was “violence on many sides” and “very fine people on both sides.”

Miss Texas, Margana Wood, was asked during the Q&A portion of the nationally televised contest Sunday night about the president’s comments.

“I think that the white supremacist issue — it was very obvious that it was a terrorist attack,” she said firmly. “And I think that President Donald Trump should have made a statement earlier addressing the fact, and in making sure all Americans feel safe in this country. That is the No. 1 issue right now.”

Her questioner, People editor-in-chief Jess Cagle, looked like he was sorry he asked.

There were loud cheers in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, which soon made their way onto social media.

Wood, a 22-year-old graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and native of Houston, was fourth runner-up in the competition, which was won by Miss North Dakota, Cara Mund. Mund, 23, also criticized Trump during the interview segment of the pageant, saying he was wrong to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord. But it was Wood’s response about Trump and white supremacists that generated the buzz.

On her Miss America bio page, Wood lists her platform issue as being “You Belong.” It stems from her own experience of overcoming bullying in middle and high school, she says. Her SMART students program emphasizes the importance of respect and inclusion, and she has also teamed up with the national Little Words Project, whose mission is to spread kindness, according to her bio.