She made headlines after her pageant win in 2006, when reports of underage drinking and drug abuse surfaced.
Trump, who owned the Miss USA competition at the time, allowed her to keep her crown on the condition that she enter drug rehab.
“I became famous as ‘Mess USA’ when my boss — now the president of the United States — tossed me into rehab after I tested positive for cocaine,” Conner wrote for USA Today.
“Rather than strip me of my crown or add to the negative press with a humiliation campaign, Donald Trump surprised me, and shocked the world, when he held a news conference and declared: ‘Tara is going to be given a second chance.’”
“It was 10 years ago that I got out of treatment, and I thank him for my 10 years of recovery,” she said. “I will always be profoundly grateful.”
“He saved my life and, essentially, made me great again.”
Conner said that Trump knows first-hand the damage addiction can do to families, touching on Trump’s brother Freddy, who lost his battle with alcoholism and died in 1981.
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“The president vowed in his speech to Congress that ‘We will stop the drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth — and we will expand treatment for those who have become so badly addicted,’” she wrote. “I am confident he will keep his promises. As is the case with one in every three American households, substance-use disorders impacted his own family, and he now has the power to help millions.”
Since receiving treatment, Conner has become an advocate for addiction and recovery.
“My life was the perfect storm for addiction,” she added. “My uncle molested me when I was 3. When I was 14, my parents’ rocky relationship ended in divorce and my grandfather … died.”
“The president should also know that I am committed to supporting him in any way that I can. It is the least I can do, considering what he did for me,” Conner concluded.
She appeared on Oprah: Where Are They Now? in October and revealed that her life is “really beautiful.”
She also mentioned that she appreciates how Trump put addiction and recovery into the national spotlight.
“When he sent me to treatment, it was a huge step forward for the recovery movement,” Conner said.
His move in 2006 resulted in a feud with Rosie O’Donnell, who criticized Trump’s decision to give Conner a second chance.
“He’s the moral authority… for 20-year-olds in America?” she asked on The View, touching on his affairs, divorces and previous bankruptcies.
The comments spurred the feud and attacks from Trump about O’Donnell’s weight and other jabs that have continued to this day.
Conner gave a TED Talk earlier this year at the University of Nevada about addiction and recovery.Follow @KatieScottNews
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