Miss USA co-founder Donald Trump was noticeably absent from the pageant finals in Baton Rouge on Sunday evening, after he previously stated he intended to show up.
In a tweet on Saturday evening, Trump announced he wouldn’t attend the show because he was campaigning in Phoenix.
A CNN report suggests that Trump was finished campaigning in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday and went home on Sunday, the day of the pageant.
Trump, a Republican U.S. president candidate, held a rally in Phoenix on Saturday, but his campaign spokeswoman told CNN that he had “no official events” Sunday and was traveling back to New York.
CNN reported that a flight tracking service showed a plane used by Trump traveled from Phoenix to New York just after midnight Sunday morning.
Trump attended the event in Baton Rouge in 2014.
He has caused waves in recent weeks after making repeated comments disparaging Mexican immigrants, causing many sponsors and entertainers to break ties with him and the pageant. Miss USA lost its broadcast agreement with NBC and Univision, but was subsequently picked up by Reelz.
Trump’s absence was not lost on at least one beauty queen who participated in the Sunday event.
During a press conference before the pageant on Sunday, after a reporter asked Miss USA representatives about Trump’s absence, former Miss Universe and Miss USA Brook Lee broke into enthusiastic applause. Lee was a judge on Sunday.
Paula Shugart, Miss Universe President, told reporters the focus of the pageant was about the contestants facing off for the crown, despite Trump’s presidential campaign activities out west.