New Miss America: U.S. needs seat at Paris climate pact table

New Miss America: U.S. needs seat at Paris climate pact table

September 12th, 2017 by Associated Press in Life Entertainment

Miss North Dakota Cara Mund reacts after being named Miss America during Miss America 2018 pageant, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

Photo by Noah K. Murray

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — An Ivy League graduate headed to law school, with eyes on becoming her state's first female governor, Miss North Dakota Cara Mund knew the importance of answering a question head-on.

So when judges at the Miss America competition asked her whether President Donald Trump was wrong to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accords that seek to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, she did not hesitate.

"It's a bad decision," she said during Sunday night's nationally televised finale. "There is evidence that climate change is existing, and we need to be at that table."

That answer helped her win the crown as Miss America 2018 at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.

Meeting with reporters afterward, Mund said she wanted first and foremost to give a real answer to the question.

Miss North Dakota Cara Mund answers questions during the Miss America 2018 pageant, Sunday, Sept.10, 2017, in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

Miss North Dakota Cara Mund answers questions during...

Photo by Noah K. Murray

"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."

On Monday, after taking the winner's traditional morning-after dip in the Atlantic City surf, Mund reiterated that the U.S. should be part of the talks on greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming.

"My onstage question answer was just my personal opinion," she told The Associated Press. "I think everyone has a right to think what they want. But it's important to have a spot at the negotiating table. This isn't necessarily: 'Does climate change exist or not?' but rather the fact that we're going to keep our Earth clean for future generations, and I just think it's really important that we have a seat there. To pull out, I think, is just really unfortunate."

Trump, who once owned the now-shuttered Atlantic City casino next door to where Mund spoke Monday, has said the Paris accord was a bad deal economically for the United States. He has also called global warming a hoax.

Mund wants to one day be the first woman elected governor of North Dakota. She would not say if she is registered with any political party.

"I have my personal opinions, and I'd rather say I'm not a Republican and I'm not a Democrat. I'm an American," she said.

She is the first contestant from North Dakota to win the Miss America crown. She graduated from Brown University and will enter law school when her time as Miss America is over.