MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The controversy over Donald Trump’s comments on Mexican immigrants has forced many companies to discontinue their business relationship with him including one of his most popular business ventures around the world, the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants.READ MORE: Taste Of The Town: Ball And Chain Serving Up Cuban Classics With A Side OF Salsa Music For 8 Decades
With the Miss Florida USA competition just two days away, CBS4’s Walter Makaula caught up with the ladies to get their thoughts on the controversy surrounding their potential boss.
Like the diverse ethnic backgrounds and cities they represent across the U.S., their answers equally differ when it comes to the same question on Donald Trump.
“I think Donald Trump’s words might have been misconstrued. I think he was speaking more to the Mexican government than he was speaking to the Mexican immigrants that are actually legal in the U.S,” said Nicolette Jennings, Miss Gainsville USA.
“He’s a role model and he should watch what he says. It’s great that he stands by his opinion and he’s confident in his words, but you need to know there are repercussions to what you say,” said Natalie Titus, Miss Jupiter USA.
Trump spoke last night with CNNS’s Anderson Cooper about his comments and the controversy.When asked about the comment he made about Mexican immigrants, he again said, “It is rape and it’s happening.”
“Obviously, the comments he made are very derogatory and very rude towards, not only Mexicans, but Latinas in general and Americans who don’t feel that way at all. I have very close personal friends that are Latina and Mexican and I love them and their families and they’re fantastic people and give so much to our country,” said Brie Gabrielle, Miss Palm Beach USA.
This past January, the Miss Universe pageant held at the Trump National Resort in Doral drew 7.6 million viewers on NBC and another 4.7 million Spanish viewers on Telemundo.
With NBC and this year’s Spanish broadcast contract with Univision being dropped, viewership is going to be nothing like that for the organization’s upcoming pageants.READ MORE: Police Will Be Out In Force In Miami Beach To Ensure A Safe Memorial Day Holiday
The financial losses are estimated to be in the millions. What does Trump think it will cost him?
“It’s a lot of money, but fortunately I’m very rich. It doesn’t matter to me,” said Trump.
Most of the ladies said it matters to them. They’ve spent years and a lot of money preparing for the pageant that now a few people will see.
“The most admirable thing or the most appropriate thing would be to go on air and apologize for what he said – explain why he said what he said and what he meant by it,” said Tanya Naravane, Miss Sarasota USA.
Trump did not apologize.
Instead, he blamed Univision, the Spanish network he’s suing for refusing to air the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants.
Trump says he got his facts from a study Univision produced.
“I stand by whatever I read from Univision. Univision did it. I didn’t do it,” said Trump.
We’ve already seen some of the effects his comments have had on his pageant business, sponsors, television networks, and five celebrities for the upcoming Miss USA competition alone pulling out of their hosting duties.MORE NEWS: South Florida Housing Trends: Real Estate Inventory Shrunk, Prices Skyrocketed
Many of the pageant ladies said they don’t believe we’ve felt the full brunt of the damage just yet but for now they’re focused on not embarrassing themselves during their own on stage interview this Saturday.