(ABC News) — Former Miss Arizona Tasha Dixon said Donald Trump walked into a dress rehearsal for the pageant in 2001 while the contestants were “half-naked” and the women were told to “fawn all over him,” according to an interview.
Her comments appear to match up with what Trump told Howard Stern in an interview in 2005 — that he was “allowed to go in” to the dressing area backstage because he was “the owner of the pageant.”
Trump has been embroiled in controversy recently for comments he made in 2005 in which he can be heard on tape bragging about groping women. Trump has since apologized for the remarks.
Dixon, who was 18 at the time, said Trump came “strolling right in” during a dress rehearsal for the Miss USA pageant in 200l, she told CBS2/KCAL. She said it was the contestants’ introduction to Trump and that the women were naked or half-naked, in a “very physically vulnerable position.”
She said that she decided to speak out after hearing audio released in the past few days of Trump talking about women and that she hadn’t heard his interview with Stern until recently. On Sunday CNN reported on it, along with several other interviews in which Trump used crude language when referring to women.
Dixon also said that people who worked for Trump instructed the women to “walk up to him” and “fawn all over him,” according to the report.
“Who do you complain to? He owns the pageant,” she said. “There’s no one there to complain to. Everyone there works for him.”
Miss Hawaii 2011, Christy Conway, also said Trump came into the dressing room but said it was just minutes prior to the main event. Conway said she was dressed at the time, and said that, as far as she could tell, others were dressed as well. However, she did say that there were other locations for contestants to change other than where she was when Trump walked in.
Conway, who participated in the same Miss USA pageant as Dixon, said Trump came into the dressing room to wish the contestants luck. She then took a picture with him while wearing her outfit for the opening ceremony.
Trump owned the Miss USA pageant from 1998 to 2015, when it was acquired by talent agency WME-IMG, the pageant announced last year. Coincidentally, the theme of the 2001 pageant was “empowering women,” KCAL reported.
Trump’s deputy communications adviser, Jessica Ditto, said Dixon’s accusations “have no merit and have already been disproven by many other individuals who were there.”
“When you see questionable attacks like this magically put out there in the final month of a presidential campaign, you have to ask yourself what the political motivations really are and why the media is pushing it,” Ditto said. “Mr. Trump has a fantastic record of empowering women throughout his career, and a more accurate story would be to show how he’s been a positive influence in the lives of so many.”
Dixon alleged that Trump bought the pageant so he could use his power to “get around beautiful women.” She declined to comment on the issue for ABC News.
What Dixon described doesn’t stray too far from Trump’s comments in a 2005 Stern interview, in which he said he would go backstage at pageants to make sure “everything is good.” It was not clear to which pageants he was referring.
“Well, I’ll tell you, the funniest is that before a show, I’ll go backstage, and everyone’s getting dressed and everything else, and you know, no men are anywhere,” Trump told Stern, “and I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it.”
Trump said that he would ask the women “Is everyone OK?” and that they would be “standing there with no clothes.”
“And you see these incredible-looking women, and so, I sort of get away with things like that.”
Trump made those comments while responding to a question from Stern about whether he ever had sex with any contestants from the Miss USA or Miss Universe pageants.
“I never comment on things like that,” Trump said, adding later that he wouldn’t “want to hurt their feelings.”