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Army officer is Miss USA

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The newly crowned Miss USA is a 26-year-old Army officer from the District of Columbia who gave perhaps the strongest answer of the night when asked about women in combat.

“As a woman in the United States Army, I think … we are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit, I’m powerful, I am dedicated,” Deshauna Barber said. “Gender does not limit us in the United States.”

As the winner of Sunday’s 2016 Miss USA competition held at the T-Mobile Arena off the Las Vegas Strip, Barber will go on to compete in the Miss Universe contest.

Coming in second was Miss Hawaii, who was asked who she would vote for among the likely presidential candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton or former pageant owner Donald Trump, a Republican.

Chelsea Hardin said there was no way to correctly answer the question during the beauty pageant. The question was framed with Clinton’s likely status of being the first woman nominated by a major political party for the White House. Hardin responded that gender doesn’t matter when deciding the next commander in chief. The 24-year-old college student from Honolulu simply said the new president should push for what’s right for the country.

The other women in the top five were asked about voting rights, income inequality and the recent death of sports icon Muhammad Ali.

Fan favorite Miss California, Nadia Grace Mejia, had stumbled and paused when answering a question about social and economic inequality. The 20-year-old model, who is the daughter of the 1990s one-hit-wonder singer known as Rico Suave, had also talked about suffering from anorexia and wanting to promote body confidence earlier in the show.

At the start of Sunday’s show, Steve Harvey made a cameo in a video to poke fun of the Miss Universe crowning that he botched in December.

Harvey was hosting that event, also held in Las Vegas, and had mistakenly named Colombia’s Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo the winner before correcting himself on the stage. Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines was then given the crown.

Officials later said it was due to human error. The talk show host said he had re-read the card and noticed it said “first runner-up” next to the Colombia contestant’s name before clarifying with producers his mistake. (AP)