'Heartbreaking' Trump-O'Donnell Feud Started Over Ex-Miss USA: 'I Felt Like a Puppet'
A former Miss USA at the center of the feud between Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell is sharing her side of the story.
The decade-long fight started in 2006 after Tara Conner, the reigning Miss USA, tested positive for cocaine.
"I was scared," she recalled as she spoke to Inside Edition. "I was nervous. I was in a very, very dark place."
But rather than stripping her of her crown, Trump gave her a "second chance"as long as she entered rehab. He called a press conference to announce his decision.
"I was dizzy because I had so many cameras on me," Conner said. "I felt a little bit like a puppet. Personally I wish we could have handled it in a one-on-one capacity — without having to do it in front of everyone.”
Afterwards, Rosie O'Donnell, who was then a co-host on "The View," questioned Trump's position as “the moral authority" and called him a "snake-oil salesman."
Conner still finds O'Donnell's statements about her hard to watch.
“I think that his response was heartbreaking, I think that her response was heartbreaking,” she said. “I'm being mocked, I’m being judged because I was in a beauty pageant and my life was on the line and I almost died.”
Conner also bristles at the idea that Trump takes credit for giving her a second chance.
“I was a sick person trying to figure out my life,” she said. “I don't like it when people say Donald saved my life. I figured out what I was suffering from. I started my journey to recovery. I did all of that. No one can keep me sober but me and God.”
Now sober for nine years, she is using her experience to influence others and works assisting people recover from drug abuse.
She is floored that her part in the Trump-O'Donnell feud continues to be a talking point.
“Anytime I hear that part of my life and being attached to a presidential race, I say “What?!,” she said.
As for who'll she vote for — that's "none of your business," she said.