ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Miss North Dakota, Cara Mund, who said President Donald Trump was wrong to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord, was named Miss America 2018 Sunday night in Atlantic City.
Mund, 23, topped a field of 51 contestants to win the crown in the New Jersey seaside resort, where most of the 97 Miss Americas have been selected.
In one of her onstage interviews, Mund said Trump, a Republican, was wrong to withdraw the United States from the climate accord aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.
"It's a bad decision," she said. "There is evidence that climate change is existing, and we need to be at that table."
In an interview with The Associated Press before preliminary competition began, Mund, who lives in Bismarck, North Dakota, said her goal is to be the first woman elected governor of her state.
She said she wants to see more women elected to all levels of government.
"It's important to have a woman's perspective," Mund, who had an internship in the U.S. Senate, told the AP. "In health care and on reproductive rights, it's predominantly men making those decisions."
An Ivy League graduate from Brown University who is headed to law school, Mund went to high school with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.
"I said, 'If Carson Wentz can do it, Miss North Dakota Cara Mund can become Miss America,'" she said after winning the title.
She is the first contestant from her state to win the Miss America crown.
Trump also figured in another question asked of a finalist onstage. Miss Missouri Jennifer Davis, who was first runner-up, was asked whether Trump's presidential campaign colluded with Russia last year.
She said she doesn't think enough information has been revealed to support such a charge.
"We should investigate it to its fullest extent, and if we do find evidence, the justice system should do their due diligence," she said.
The second runner-up was Miss New Jersey Kaitlyn Schoeffel, third runner-up was Miss District of Columbia Briana Kinsey and fourth runner up was Miss Texas Margana Wood.
Earlier Sunday, as a deadly hurricane was slamming her home state, Miss Florida Sara Zeng sent a message of support to those in harm's way — and was then eliminated.
As judges were narrowing the field of 51 contestants (each state plus the District of Columbia), they interviewed Zeng, 22, of Palm Coast, who noted that her family was safe.
But she expressed concern and support for friends and strangers endangered by Hurricane Irma, which was tearing its way up the Florida gulf coast on Sunday.
"I'm thinking about everyone in Florida every single day, but I know that regardless what happens, we'll all get through this together," Zeng said.
Zeng won Friday's swimsuit preliminary and promised that she'd be part of the post-Irma cleanup and recovery effort, whether as Miss America or not.