A former Miss North Carolina who competed in the 2006 Miss USA pageant told CNN that pageant owner Donald Trump personally inspected each woman prior to the contest, to the point where it was “the dirtiest I felt in my entire life.”
Former pageant queen Samantha Holvey, a native of the Harnett County community of Buies Creek, made the accusation in a CNN story that was published Thursday.
“He would step in front of each girl and look you over from head to toe like we were just meat, we were just sexual objects, that we were not people,” Holvey is quoted as saying.
“You know when a gross guy at the bar is checking you out? It's that feeling.”
A handful of other Miss USA contestants have been quoted this week saying similar things. Trump and his supporters have noted the accusations appear to be part of a barrage of negative publicity strategically coordinated by his opponents to cripple his campaign in the final weeks before the election.
CNN says Holvey was 20 years old at the time and attending private Southern Baptist college, Campbell University.
She told the news site that the contestants attended private parties where they mingled with “old, rich drunk guys ogling all over us.”
Holvey said the final straw was when Trump and his wife, Melania, showed up backstage.
“He was literally walking around just looking at the girls and then he and Melania walked in,” Holvey is quoted as saying.
They both then proceeded to a doorway that led into the dressing room where other contestants were getting ready, she said.
“I thought it was entirely inappropriate,” Holvey told CNN. “I told my mom about it. I was disgusted by the entire thing. I had no desire to win when I understood what it was all about.”
CNN goes on to say that, in later years, other contestants said Trump behaved inappropriately. Prior to the preliminary competition in the 2012 pageant, CNN says contestants remembered them parading before Trump and then meeting him onstage.
CNN says messages left with a pageant spokesperson and Trump's campaign were not immediately returned.