On Friday morning, President-elect Donald Trump started tweeting again about his dissatisfaction with popular culture, this time going after NBC’s new version of The Apprentice and his reality-TV heir, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In effect, Trump, as an executive producer of the show, trashed his own program.
“Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got ‘swamped’ (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, [Donald J. Trump],” the next leader of the free world wrote. “So much for being a movie star—and that was season 1 compared to season 14. Now compare him to my season 1. But who cares, he supported Kasich & Hillary.”
(Schwarzenegger, a Republican, was critical of—and said he would not vote for—Trump during the campaign, but has since told people to stop “whining” about the Republican president-elect.)
Trump’s attack on the new Apprentice and its new host is, apparently, NBC’s reward for getting back in business with Trump, who has been listed as executive producer on Schwarzenegger’s version. In 2015, NBC made a big deal out of severing ties with Trump over his bigoted presidential campaign, only to now air a show that Trump is executive-producing while he is about to become president of the United States.
Despite his superior ratings, Trump’s time as host of The Apprentice was marked by scandal, humiliation, pervasive foul and sexist comments, and (at its very worst) allegations of sexual assault, as The Daily Beast has previously reported in a month-long investigation.
“[Trump] is and always has been a joke—I can’t believe anyone now is taking him seriously,” a female Apprentice employee, who was allegedly sexually assaulted by contestant and actor Gary Busey (an alleged attack Trump knew about and then proceeded to do worse than nothing about it), told The Daily Beast in October. “He’s a monster.”
In an email to The Daily Beast, NBC declined to comment on the executive producer / president-elect's latest salvo against his own NBC series. However, the show's new host did weigh in.
“There’s nothing more important than the people's work, @realDonaldTrump,” Schwarzenegger responded on Twitter, talking to Trump using the president-elect's favorite medium. "I wish you the best of luck and I hope you'll work for ALL of the American people as aggressively as you worked for your ratings.”
Shortly thereafter, the former California governor posted a video of himself reciting Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address. “Please study this quote from Lincoln's inaugural, @realDonaldTrump,” he wrote. “It inspired me every day I was Governor, and I hope it inspires you.”