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Published: Wednesday, 12/26/2012

Beauty and the beast

Sheena Monnin, a former Miss Pennsylvania, might not be voted Miss Congeniality. But Donald Trump might win a prize for most grotesque ego or haircut from outer space, if pageants offered such titles.

That both of them were at loggerheads in a legal dispute about slanderous comments the beauty queen made about Mr. Trump’s Miss Universe Organization leaves the casual bystander with no one to root for.

Miss Monnin, 27, unwisely said that the Miss USA Pageant, in which she did not make the final 16 in Las Vegas in June, was fixed. When she resigned her Miss Pennsylvania title, she cited her objection to allowing transgendered people to participate in the program. Her poor judgment and lack of tolerance don’t make her a sympathetic figure, but rather a sore loser.

Mr. Trump’s problem is that he is always a sore winner — so much money, so little sense. Mr. Trump was a winner again when the dispute went to binding arbitration: Miss Monnin, who did not participate in the process, now finds herself owing the Miss Universe Organization $5 million in damages, assessed by a federal judge on the basis that the pageant lost a sponsor for its 2013 event.

The arbitrator, a retired U.S. magistrate, ruled that “there was virtually no possibility that the judging was rigged.” Thank goodness that has been cleared up.

Despite the serious money at stake, the whole dispute is silly. Sore losers regularly complain that home sports teams lost because of biased referees. Yet nobody thinks the officials have been gravely libeled and must be made whole by paying them $5 million.

If Mr. Trump had an ounce of gallantry, he would settle for vindication, not money.

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