Watch out for the Terminator! Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke out about his fractured friendship with President Donald Trump in a cover story interview for Men’s Journal’s upcoming issue.
As previously reported, Trump, 70, has publicly criticized Schwarzenegger, 69, for bringing in lower ratings on Celebrity Apprentice since he took over as host, but the former California governor is unfazed by the real estate tycoon’s remarks.
“Wow, the ratings are in, and Arnold Schwarzenegger got ‘swamped’ (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT,” Trump tweeted in January. “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.”
Recalling what went through his mind after seeing POTUS’ tweet, Schwarzenegger told Men’s Journal that he told himself, “Don’t get into a stinking contest with a skunk.”
“I said, ‘Let’s sit on it for an hour.’ I called my assistant and said, ‘I think what we really should do is request a meeting and go back to New York,’” Schwarzenegger continued before joking: “And then we just smash his face into the table.”
He added: “And then I think we can’t do that, either. I think I have to be above all of that and put him on the spot.”
Schwarzenegger ended up replying to Trump with the following tweet: “There's nothing more important than the people's work. 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.”
The German-born fitness icon also told the magazine about how he got the job on Celebrity Apprentice after Trump was fired from the series in 2015 for making offensive remarks about Mexicans immigrants being criminals and rapists.
“When Trump started running for office, I said to myself, ‘Obviously he can’t do both,’” Schwarzenegger said, adding that he proactively reached out to show creator Mark Burnett, who hired him shortly after they met. “They said, ‘Let’s do a season and see what happens.’”
In between filming Celebrity Apprentice and last year’s presidential election, Schwarzenegger (who had been friendly with Trump since the 1980s) announced that he did not support the business mogul for president even though he is Republican. The Kindergarten Cop star — previously married to Maria Shriver of American political dynasty the Kennedys, who were Democrats — even urged other conservatives to “choose your country over your party.”
Trump reignited his feud with Schwarzenegger during the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., on February 2, where he mentioned Celebrity Apprentice’s ratings yet again.
"They hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to take my place, and we know how that turned out,” Trump said. “The ratings went right down the tubes. It's been a total disaster. And Mark [Burnett] will never, ever bet against Trump again, and I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings.”
Schwarzenegger took to social media that same day to clap back. “Hey, Donald, I have a great idea. Why don’t we switch jobs?” he asked in an Instagram clip. “You take over TV because you’re such an expert in ratings, and I take over your job, and then people can finally sleep comfortably again.”
Want stories like these delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter!