Venezuelan beauty queen and former Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza thanked President Donald Trump in an interview this weekend for his role in trying to remove the country’s socialist regime from power.
In an interview with Caraota Digital, the 33-year-old beauty queen was asked her thoughts on Trump’s role in her country’s crisis, having worked closely alongside him when he was owner of the Miss Universe pageant and being a contestant on the 2012 season of Celebrity Apprentice.
“Donald Trump has shown that if you want something, you can achieve it,” she said. “Without having any experience in the political field, he became the president of the United States and an internationally recognized world leader.”
“For me, based on experiences I’ve had with him, beyond the political – because I’m not a politician and I do not like politics (I understand that the issue of power is very sensitive) – I can only say thank you for all the ways in which he has contributed to my country and the ways in which he has helped me personally,” she continued.
Since assuming office in 2017, Trump has committed the United States to efforts to remove the Maduro regime from power and bringing an end to the country’s political, economic, and humanitarian crisis. His administration has taken a number of steps to weaken the regime, including a range of economic sanctions, while also recognizing Juan Guaidó as the rightful President of Venezuela after he was sworn in in January following the legal end of dictator Nicolás Maduro.
Mendoza was also asked her views on Guaidó, who has so far failed in his mission to remove Maduro from power and instigate a transition to democracy.
“From what I can see, our interim president still has a purpose, and we need to keep supporting him. We must not give up hope, after all these years of waiting for someone who can represent us,” she explained. “We need to show patience and to keep the faith, because if we don’t believe in what we’re doing nothing will not happen.”
Mendoza’s praise for Donald Trump is a far cry from his relationship with another former Venezuelan Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, who described him as “cruel” and decided to actively campaign for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Trump later branded her as “disgusting” while urging people to “check out [her] sex tape.”
Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2016
Venezuela is well renowned for sourcing beauty queens, having produced seven winners of Miss Universe and six winners of Miss World competitions. The pageants have also attracted controversy for their promotion of “beauty factories,” where girls as young as five are groomed for competition by learning everything from how to put on makeup to staying the “correct” weight.