*Emmitt Smith has given Donald Trump the Heisman.
The former Dallas Cowboys running back is the latest to flee from the Miss USA pageant in the wake of co-owner Trump’s comments regarding Mexican immigrants.
“In light of Mr. Trump’s statements and the subsequent decisions made by NBC, I have decided not to participate as a judge in the 2015 Miss USA pageant,” Smith said in a statement. “Knowing firsthand through my wife, Pat, how much the women prepare for this event, I continue to send my support and best wishes to everyone competing this year.”
The Republican presidential hopeful – who co-owns the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants – is struggling to hold the Miss USA pageant together following defections by hosts, performers, judges and the two television networks that were scheduled to broadcast the event on July 12 – NBC and Univision.
Flo Rida had been the highest-profile performer scheduled for the event in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and his representative confirmed Wednesday that he would not perform. Country singer Craig Wayne Boyd, winner of “The Voice” last year, and pop singer Natalie La Rose, whose single “Somebody” hit the Billboard Top Ten this year, also dropped out. There were no more announced performers.
HGTV “Property Brothers” star Jonathan Scott was also one of the pageant’s judges but backed out, too, saying on Facebook that he could not support Trump’s views.
“We are all on this big rock together,” he said, “and I choose love.”
Trump’s presidential campaign announcement contained his assertion that some Mexican immigrants to the United States bring drugs and crime, and some are rapists.
Besides Smith and HGTV’s Scott, Miss USA listed country singer Jessie James Decker, E! News anchor Terrence Jenkins and TV host and former Miss Universe winner Zuleyka Rivera as pageant judges in a news release issued last month. Of that quintet, only Decker’s name was listed as a judge by Miss USA on its website Wednesday.
The pageant lost both of its co-hosts, Cheryl Burke of “Dancing With the Stars” and MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts, on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Jeannie Mai, who hosted a show on the Style Network, was listed as a show host.
Last week, the hosts of the Univision simulcast, Roselyn Sanchez and Cristian de la Fuente, said they wouldn’t take part in the Spanish-language telecast.
The pageant issued a statement earlier this week that “we are disheartened by recent events but the show will go on.”