A new excerpt from the upcoming book Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump alleges that President Donald Trump vetoed contestants from his Miss Universe pageants based on race.
The excerpt, published Thursday at Mother Jones, details Trump’s 2013 trip to Russia for the Miss Universe beauty contest. While the excerpt focuses mainly on Trump’s business interactions while in Russia, it also describes the managerial style he allegedly used at his pageants. The book, due in stores March 13, is co-authored by Michael Isikoff, Yahoo News’ chief investigative correspondent, and David Corn, Mother Jones’ Washington bureau chief. (Yahoo News is owned by HuffPost’s parent company, Oath.)
According to Isikoff and Corn’s research, Trump always had the final say in who won the pageant. The authors say Trump often vetoed contestants of color when he believed there were too many.
A day or two before the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, Trump reportedly reviewed the contestants and picked who he wanted to be in the final round.
“In short, no woman was a finalist until Trump said so,” Isikoff and Corn write.
According to one staffer, Trump would “toss out finalists” whom the judges had chosen and replace them with women he preferred. The contestants he tended to toss out, the staffer said, were women of color:
“If there were too many women of color, he would make changes,” a Miss Universe staffer later noted. Another Miss Universe staffer recalled, “He often thought a woman was too ethnic or too dark-skinned. He had a particular type of woman he thought was a winner. Others were too ethnic. He liked a type. There was Olivia Culpo, Dayanara Torres [the 1993 winner], and, no surprise, East European women.” On occasion, according to this staffer, Trump would reject a woman “who had snubbed his advances.”
One Miss Universe employee told Isikoff and Corn that if Trump didn’t like a contestant “because she looked too ethnic,” he could sometimes be persuaded by “telling him she was a princess and married to a football player.”
Multiple former Miss Universe contestants have accused Trump of walking into their changing rooms unannounced. Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado said in 2016 that Trump once referred to her as “Miss Piggy,” “Miss Housekeeping” and “an eating machine.”
In 2016, former Miss Teen USA winner Kamie Crawford said she was warned that “Trump doesn’t like black people.” She said she saw Trump turn his back to a black Miss Universe contestant who was rehearsing on stage, and “[make] a face like he was going to vomit at the sight of her.”
Trump has a long history of racist remarks and actions, including refusing to condemn white supremacists who campaigned for him and referring to Mexican immigrants as “criminals” and “rapists.” The president has also been accused of sexual misconduct, ranging from harassment to assault and rape, by 21 women.
Head over to Mother Jones to read the full book excerpt.