On defense

New Miss USA clarifies controversial comments on health care and feminism

Co-host Julianne Hough (L) looks on as Miss District of Columbia USA 2017 Kara McCullough answers a question during the interview portion of the 2017 Miss USA pageant at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on May 14, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. McCullough went on to be named the new Miss USA. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Kara McCullough was barely crowned Miss USA on Sunday night when she found herself at the heart of of a major controversy. Before she even won the crown, McCullough described affordable health care as a “privilege” rather than a “right” during the Q&A portion of the pageant. “As a government employee, I am granted health care and I see firsthand that for one to have health care, you need to have jobs,” she told host Julianne Hough on Sunday when asked about affordable health care. “So therefore, we need to continue to cultivate this environment that we’re given the opportunity to have health care as well as jobs to all the American citizens worldwide.” Her comments quickly drew backlash on social media, causing the 25-year-old McCullough — a chemist at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission — to “clarify” her remarks.  “I am privileged to have health care and I do believe that it should be a right,” she said during an appearance on Good Morning America Tuesday. “I hope and pray moving forward that health care is a right for all worldwide,” she said, adding, “I just want people to see where I was coming from. Having a job, I have to look at health care like it is a privilege.”

The newly-minted beauty queen raised some more eyebrows on Sunday when saying she preferred to be called an “equalist” rather than a “feminist.” Answering another question, she said, “I try not to consider myself, like, this diehard like, ‘Oh, I don’t really care about men,'” she said during the contest. “But one thing I’m going to say is though, women, we are just as equal as men when it comes to opportunity in the workplace.” On GMA, she elaborated on those remarks as well. “For me, where I work at with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ‘equalism’ is more of a term of understanding that no matter your gender, you are still just kind of given the same accolades on your work,” McCullough said. She added, “I don’t want anyone to look at it as if I’m not all about women’s rights, because I am. We deserve a lot when it comes to opportunity in the workplace as well as just like leadership positions. I’ve seen and witnessed firsthand the impact that women have.” Watch the full interview below.

Read the full story at Yahoo.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is independent of and separate from any views of The New York Times.

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