President Donald Trump, a decades-long friend of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, savaged him as host of Celebrity Apprentice because he was ticked Arnold wouldn’t vote for him. This from Scharzenegger himself, talking to CNN’s The Messy Truth host Van Jones and studio audience.
“And I told others not to vote for him,” Schwarzenegger added.
Trump missed few opportunities to whack Schwarzenegger’s performance on the show, even though Trump had a financial interest in the show’s success, as a producer.
In January, then POTUS-elect Trump, took time out from forming his cabinet, dismantling Obamacare, and pounding out a plan to finance the wall he insists Mexico would bankroll, to savage Schwarzenegger’s performance as the reality series’ executioner-in-chief:
“Wow the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got ‘swamped’ (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT, ” Trump tweeted.
Then, in February, President Donald Trump opened off his National Prayer Breakfast telling religious leaders and diplomats, “We had tremendous success on The Apprentice and, when I ran for president, I had to leave the show. And they hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger to take my place. And we know how that turned out – the ratings went right down the tubes. It’s been a total disaster,” said Trump, who remains a producer on the NBC series. “And I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can. For those ratings. Okay?”
The final jab came when Schwarzenegger announced in March that he was exiting the show because its reputation had been tarnished by Trump.
“When people found out that Trump was still involved as executive producer and was still receiving money from the show, then half the people [started] boycotting it,” Schwarzenegger said in a March interview, of his announcement he would not be back.
“Even if asked [to return] I would decline.” Schwarzenegger said. “With Trump being involved in the show people have a bad taste and don’t want to participate as a spectator or as a sponsor or in any other way support the show. It’s a very divisive period now and I think this show got caught up in all that division.”
Trump responded Schwarzenegger couldn’t quit because he’d been fired.
“I have thick skin,” Schwarzenegger told Jones Wednesday night, insisting, “This doesn’t bother me at all. It’s very funny. One third of the audience…boycotted the show, because you’re the executive producer, Donald Trump,” Schwarzenegger said to Trump, in absentia. “The advertisers left, the audience left…I was caught in the middle of this political thing,” he said.
On the bright side, Schwarzenegger noted of Trump’s jabs, “It gave me an opportunity to shoot back.”