ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. >> Cara Mund is not worried that she may begin her year-long reign as Miss America by starting a Twitter war with the nation’s Tweeter-In-Chief.
The 23-year-old Miss North Dakota won the crown tonight in Atlantic City after saying in an onstage interview that President Donald Trump was wrong to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord.
Mund topped a field of 51 contestants to win in the New Jersey seaside resort, where most of the 97 Miss Americas have been selected. Miss Hawaii Kathryn Teruya was not among the top 15 finalists.
She will take the traditional winner’s morning-after dip in the Atlantic City ocean Monday morning outside Boardwalk Hall, where she was crowned.
In one of her onstage interviews, Mund said Trump, a Republican, was wrong to withdraw the U.S. from the climate accord aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.
“It’s a bad decision,” she said. “There is evidence that climate change is existing and we need to be at that table.”
Meeting with reporters after winning the crown, Mund stood her ground, saying she wanted first and foremost to give a real answer to the question.
“I wasn’t really afraid if my opinion wasn’t the opinion of my judges,” she said. “Miss America needs to have an opinion and she needs to know what’s happening in the current climate.”
She’s not concerned about any pushback from Trump, who said the Paris accord was a bad deal economically for the United States and who also called global warming a hoax.
Trump had not mentioned Mund or her comment on the Paris accord on Twitter as of early Monday morning.
“He is our president and we need to support him,” Mund said. “I may not agree with all of his opinions, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to support the president.”
In an interview with the Associated Press before preliminary competition began, Mund, who lives in Bismarck, N.D., said her goal is to be the first woman elected governor of her state.
She said she wants to see more women elected to all levels of government.
“It’s important to have a woman’s perspective,” Mund, who had an internship in the U.S. Senate, told the AP. “In health care and on reproductive rights, it’s predominantly men making those decisions.”
An Ivy League graduate from Brown University who is headed to law school, Mund went to high school with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.
“I said, ‘If Carson Wentz can do it, Miss North Dakota Cara Mund can become Miss America,’” she said after winning the title.
She is the first contestant from her state to win the Miss America crown.