NEW YORK (BP)--Capping a three-week media and blogosphere firestorm, Donald Trump let Carrie Prejean maintain her role as Miss California USA, saying Tuesday the 21-year-old has taken "a tremendous amount of abuse" following her publicly stated opposition to "gay marriage."
"You should be ashamed of yourselves," Trump, the owner of the Miss Universe organization, told the news media during a press conference.
Officials with the Miss California USA pageant said Prejean was in danger of losing her title because of what they said were violations of her contract, including her appearing at her church and in a National Organization for Marriage press conference and ad opposing "gay marriage." A racy but non-nude picture of her taken at age 17 also surfaced, which Miss California officials said should have been disclosed before she entered the pageant.
Her supporters, though, said she indeed was being targeted for her views, with some of her backers calling it a "character assassination." What happened to Prejean, they warned, will happen to all opponents of "gay marriage" if it is legalized.
Trump, in fact, used much of Tuesday's press conference defending Prejean. He and Prejean each noted that her position was also the stated position of President Obama. Trump said she "gave a very, very honest answer when asked a very tough question."
"It's the same answer that many people give," Trump said. "… She gave an honorable answer. She gave an answer from her heart, and I think for that she has to be commended."
The co-executive directors of the Miss California pageant had been highly critical of Prejean's partnership with the National Organization for Marriage, saying that in the history of the pageant no title holder had so "readily committed her face and voice to a more divisive or polarizing issue." Ironically, one of those co-executive directors, former Playboy model Shanna Moakler, has since been featured in a pro-"gay marriage" ad calling for the overturning of California Proposition 8. Read More