Miss USA contestants refuse to drop out of pageant after Donald Trump claims Mexican immigrants are 'rapists' and criminals

Contestants have distanced themselves from his comments - but insist Miss USA can empower women

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The Independent Online

Donald Trump has been dropped by broadcasters, major retailers and watched as members of his own party rushed to distance themselves from him.

His contentious stance on immigration and claims that Mexican immigrants bring "tremendous infectious disease" and are criminals have repulsed many and cost the business magnate dearly.

But some Miss USA contestants are refusing to follow suit by dropping out of the competition, which is partly owned by Trump, telling the Associated Press that the show must go on even in the face of his remarks.

A number of Hispanic contestants spoke to the news agency to explain that while his comments were jarring, they were still keen to compete.

Ana Garcia, Ms Rhode Island, told AP it was unfair to generalise a group of people. However, she claimed Ms USA was an “empowering” competition for women and described the furore surrounding Trump as a "political process". 

“We need to remember that the Miss Universe organisation is an organisation that works to empower women to be an inspiration to the rest of the world and to be an advocate. We can’t let political process put shade over that.”

Meanwhile, Miss Texas Ylianna Guerra said she had worked too hard to leave the pageant now and "did not want to let anyone down”.

Likewise, Ms California Natasha Martinez, who emigrated from Nicaragua as a young girl, said she “found the comments hard to hear” but didn’t feel it had overshadowed the pageant.

One former Miss Wisconsin USA winner, Alex Wehrley, has been announced as one of the new hosts for the pageant, which will now be aired by the Reelz channel after NBC dropped the show. She is joined by Game show host Todd Newton.

Trump has been unrepentant over the comments he has made since announcing his bid for the Republican nomination. Instead, Trump has blamed the media for distorting his remarks and released statements reiterating his controversial views.

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