Republican presidential frontrunner and former Miss Universe owner Donald Trump has blasted the current organisers of the beauty pageant, saying he would never have allowed presenter Steve Harvey to announce the wrong winner.
Harvey, an American actor and host of TV show Family Feud, confused the winner of the pageant, Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo, with first runner-up, Miss Colombia. Harvey accepted "full responsibility" on stage for the gaffe, which induced cringes around the world, but some have criticised the confusing layout on the card he was reading from.
Donald Trump, who owned the pageant with NBC Universal, sold it to WME/IMG agency in September after his controversial presidential campaign tainted the image of Miss World.
Trump mocked the applause at Miss Universe before Harvey's monumental mistake. He then didn't miss a beat on criticising the new owners in the aftermath. "Very sad what happened last night at the Miss Universe Pageant. I sold it 6 months ago for a record price. This would never have happened!" Trump wrote on Twitter.
Speaking later in an interview with CNN, Trump commented he wished both contestants could be crowned Miss Universe. "I'll tell you what I think I'd do. I think I'd make 'em a co-winner. It'd be very cool. I would recommend that they go have a beautiful ceremony, which is good for the brand and good for Miss Universe, and do a co-winner," he added.
While Trump, who has rarely missed an opportunity to settle a personal score, could be expected to indulge in a little schadenfreude over the pageant, he has also praised the new owners. "My friend, @AriEmanuel of @IMG, bought the Miss Universe pageants from me and they are on tonight on #Fox! Tune in!" he wrote before the show.
NBC broke off its ties to Trump after he made a series of offensive comments about Mexicans.
The property tycoon said Mexican immigrants to the United States were "bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people", to widespread derision around the world but to the delight of Republican voters.