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 reacts after being named Miss America during Miss America 2018 pageant, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Atlantic City, N.J. (Noah K. Murray/Associated Press)
“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.”