MADELINE Collins from West Virginia used the Miss America competition question round to criticise President Donald Trump — who owned the pageant until 2015.

A CONTESTANT in the Miss America pageant said US President Donald Trump “has caused a lot of division” in the nation.

Madeline Collins, Miss West Virginia, was asked an onstage question at the competition in Atlantic City, New Jersey about what she feels is the most serious issue facing the nation, according to reports.

Miss America Contestant, Madeline Collins, Criticise, US President Donald Trump, For Division, in Country

She replied, “Donald Trump is the biggest issue our country faces. Unfortunately he has caused a lot of division in our country.”

Mr Trump owned the Miss America and Miss Universe pageants until 2015. West Virginia is a conservative US state considered to be hardcore ‘Trump country’.

Miss America Contestant, Madeline Collins, Criticise, US President Donald Trump, For Division, in Country

The interview responses were limited to 20 seconds and Ms Collins did not go into additional detail.

The Miss America Organisation rejected a request from the Associated Press to make Ms Collins available for an interview after Friday night’s competition had ended.

She did not win the interview contest. That honour went to Miss Massachusetts Gabriela Taveras, whose question dealt with how Americans travelling abroad should interact with people in other countries.

She said it is important to let people in other nations know that, “We as Americans are supporting them and that we are there to help them.”

The onstage interview has replaced the swimsuit competition in this year’s pageant, a change that has created controversy among those who feel the pageant needed to be modernised and those who feel an integral part of the pageant is being sacrificed.

Friday marked the third and final night of preliminary competition in the Miss America competition.

Miss America Contestant, Madeline Collins, Criticise, US President Donald Trump, For Division, in Country

Also on Friday night, Miss Indiana Lydia Tremaine won the talent portion for singing Frank Sinatra’s That’s Life.

The next Miss America will be crowned on Sunday night in the nationally televised finale from Atlantic City.

During the first two nights of competition, some of the onstage interview questions have touched on hot-button issues, including NFL national anthem protests.

A question on the propriety of those protests helped propel Miss Virginia Emili McPhail to a preliminary win Thursday night.

She told judges players have the right to protest by kneeling, noting that the real issue is police brutality.

Miss America Contestant, Madeline Collins, Criticise, US President Donald Trump, For Division, in Country

In the talent competition, Miss Louisiana Holli’ Conway won for a vocal performance, singing I Believe.

On Wednesday, Miss Florida Taylor Tyson won the talent competition for a piano performance, and Miss Wisconsin Tianna Vanderhei won the interview competition for her comments on education.

The 2019 Miss America competition will air live on ABC, Sunday, September 9 at 9 p.m. ET.

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