HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – A beauty queen from Western North Carolina is talking about what Donald Trump was like when she competed in miss USA.
Andrea Duke is speaking out amid a wave of women accusing Trump of sexual misconduct, and as the battleground state prepares for another visit from the G.O.P. nominee.
The Saluda native was crowned Miss North Carolina 2008.
“It was a dream come true,” she said. “It’s something. It’s something I’d always thought about, dreamed about and worked really hard for.”
She says the work continued when she was off to compete for the title of miss USA, where she met then owner Donald Trump.
“After he came around and talked to each one of us, he took the time out back to talk to several of the delegates and he wasn’t trying to rush out or anything. He stopped, he paused, he spoke to them. He was nothing but a gentleman,” said Duke.
Her experience, she says, paints a different image of the man other beauty contestants claim walked into their dressing rooms. Miss Arizona 2001 told the CBS News’ Los Angeles affiliate that the GOP nominee had entered dressing rooms while her fellow contestants were “half naked.”
“I have a hard time believing that because of the way the logistics of the pageant is set up,” said Duke. “There’s always someone around backstage. There are chaperones. There are dressers. There are hairstylists, makeup artists. People don’t just get to walk in. Not even Donald Trump.”
Duke says she questions the timing of those contestants, and the several women who are accusing Trump of sexual misconduct.
“He loves America because he has a good heart and you could see that in the way he interacted with us.”
The former Miss North Carolina said she’s standing up for Trump as he battles it out for the votes in the swing state.