05/12/2009 at 11:00 AM EDT
Miss California USA Carrie Prejean will keep her title – despite controversies surrounding
her, including her views on same-sex marriage and some semi-nude photos, Donald Trump has decided.
"She gave a very honest answer when asked a tough question," Trump, a co-owner of the pageant, said Tuesday at a New York press conference with Prejean sitting at his side, reports the Los Angeles Times
. "It was the same answer the president of the United States gave ... She has to be commended."
Of the revealing photos, Trump said: "We are in the 21st century. We have determined that the pictures taken were fine."
Contestants in the pageant are required to sign a 12-page document that, among several clauses, ensures that they conduct themselves "in accordance with the highest ethical and moral standards" and avoid making personal appearances, granting interviews or making commercials without authorization from pageant officials.
The Miss Universe Organization owns the Miss USA pageant. Trump co-owns the Miss Universe Organization.
In a statement issued as the controversies were unfolding around her, Prejean, 21, said she found attacks on her and others who "speak in defense of traditional marriage" intolerant and offensive.
As for her photos, she said, "I am a Christian, and I am a model. Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos."
In 2006, Miss USA Tara Conner nearly lost her crown amid revelations
of drug use. Then, too, Donald Trump announced
in a press conference she could keep her crown.