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Trump’s Miss Universe Gambit

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1 Trump’s Miss Universe Gambit on 2/22/2018, 1:44 pm

For years, he used his beauty pageants to boost business interests abroad. A 2013 contest, in Moscow, may also have helped give him the Presidency.

By Jeffrey Toobin

"The first-round results of the 2013 Miss Universe pageant seem to have come as a surprise to some of the competition’s judges, who thought that they would declare the finalists. The seven judges of the pageant’s preliminary round were charged with winnowing eighty-six contestants to fifteen finalists. Divided into two groups, they had brief conversations with each of the contestants, who then paraded onstage, first in bathing suits, then in evening gowns. The judges—including public-relations professionals, a modelling entrepreneur, and a fashion reporter—rated each woman on such qualities as “appearance” and “personality,” after which the ballots were whisked away. “They told us not to share how we voted with each other, but we did anyway,” one of the preliminary judges told me. When the finalists were announced, he said, the winners included several who hadn’t been selected. “I was shocked,” the judge told me. “I didn’t know what had happened. I felt ridiculous.” The contestants were not so naïve—they understood who was in charge..."

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