25-year-old scientist Kára McCullough won the crown at the Miss USA pageant on Sunday night while surprising and angering liberals with her interview answers on health care and feminism.
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McCullough works at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was born in Italy, studied nuclear chemistry, hosts a community outreach program for children to learn more about science and wants to inspire more women to get into STEM fields, according to the Washington Post.
However, when she said she believed health care access was a privilege and not a right for U.S. citizens, she touched off a strong reaction from people expecting a more progressive answer. She called it a privilege and connected insurance access to jobs, the Post reports:
In typical beauty pageant fashion, the Q&A portion required contestants to address controversial issues. McCullough's answers to both questions — about health-care and feminism — sparked debate on social media. The first query: "Do you think affordable health-care for all U.S. citizens is a right or a privilege and why?"
"I'm definitely going to say it's a privilege," McCullough responded. "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. So therefore, we need to continue to cultivate this environment that we're given the opportunities to have health-care as well as jobs to all the American citizens worldwide."
Social media users erupted.
The same went for her answer about being a feminist:
"So as a woman scientist in the government, I'd like to lately transpose the word feminism to equalism," McCullough said as members of the audience cheered. "I don't really want to consider myself — try not to consider myself like this die-hard, you know, like, 'Oh, I don't really care about men.' But one thing I'm gonna say, though, is women, we are just as equal as men when it comes to opportunity in the workplace."
"And I say firsthand: I have witnessed the impact that women have in leadership in the medical sciences, as well as just in the office environment," she added. "So as Miss USA, I would hope to promote that type of leadership responsibility globally to so many women worldwide."
McCullough is the second straight Miss District of Columbia to take home the top honor at the pageant.
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