Keeping the Crown

The sideshow that is Miss California USA just ran into overtime: The entree of Donald Trump into the fracas.

Trump, the owner of the Miss USA pageant, announced that Carrie Prejean could keep her crown, despite the revelation of semi-nude photos. “We’re in the 21st century,” Trump said.

Underlying all of this is Prejean’s views on gay marriage, a very 20th century position of heterosexual nuptials that she revealed to blogger Perez Hilton when he asked her at the pageant itself. In the flap that followed, she took the ball and ran with it, appearing at the National Press Club as a spokeswoman for the National Organization for Marriage, then quickly pulling back that role as California pageant officials seemed to look for any way to depose her. They couldn’t, leaving it up to Trump to be the final arbiter.

Trump’s argument is that President Obama holds the very same position as Prejean, which is true. But the pageant audience isn’t what it was in the 1970s, when Bob Barker presided, before a big flap over furs sent him packing. Did Trump just jeopardize gay audiences? In this heated environment, probably so.

As for what it does for the gay marriage debate — well, nothing. As others, like Politico’s Ben Smith, have commented, it just looks like tabloid fodder. And Prejean’s excuse, that her topless photos were caused by a windy day, enters the lexicon of all time greatest wardrobe malfunctions.

More on today’s press conference here.

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