Jeannie Mai Resigns as Co-Host of Miss USA Pageant in Wake of Trump Controversy – After Initially Vowing to Stay
"Although I will no longer be participating as a co-host, I still want to support the women competing in the pageant," Mai said Monday
Jeannie Mai – who told PEOPLE last week that she would remain with the pageant to support the women involved – announced that she, too, has decided to step down from her role as co-host.
Mai, 36, follows in the footsteps of Cheryl Burke and Thomas Roberts, who previously resigned as co-hosts following Trump’s derogatory comments toward Mexican immigrants. (Judges including Emmitt Smith and Jonathan Scott of The Property Brothers have also bowed out of the event due to the controversy.)
“At the time I made my decision to remain part of the Miss USA pageant, I was under the impression that Mr. Trump would no longer be involved in the production of the show in any capacity whatsoever,” she wrote in a long message posted on her Instagram page Monday.
“In addition, given Mr. Trump’s ongoing antics, including his most recent episode today with the current Miss Universe,” she continued, “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.”
“Therefore, I am respectfully withdrawing from my responsibilities and commitment as co-host of Miss USA,” she wrote. “Although I will no longer be participating as a co-host, I still want to support the women competing in the pageant. I feel the best way to show that is to lend my support to this year’s winner of Miss USA and to make the donation I promised to her platform and charity.”
Trump, 69, created a firestorm last month during a speech to announce his candidacy for President of the United States of America when the mogul said Mexican immigrants are “bringing drugs they’re bringing crime they’re rapists.”
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The comments prompted NBC to drop the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, and confirmed it will no longer air his reality show, The Apprentice. Univision also confirmed it will not air the simulcast of the Miss USA pageant when takes place on July 12 in Baton Rouge. Companies including Macy’s and Serta have also cut ties with him.
On Sunday, Trump called reigning Miss Universe Paulina Vega of Colombia a “hypocrite” on Twitter for criticizing his comments while opting not to relinquish her crown.
Mai, meanwhile, said on Instagram that she is upset that the women affiliated with the pageant are suffering because of Trump’s “ongoing antics.”
“I feel terrible that the women competing this year have fallen victim to current events. Let me be clear, I condemn the recent words of Mr. Trump, and find them immensely offensive,” she said.