Who, me? Donald Trump denied that he will be involved in Celebrity Apprentice during his presidency in a series of tweets on Saturday, December 10, despite the fact that his former campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, had defended his potential decision to do so one day earlier.
“I have NOTHING to do with The Apprentice except for fact that I conceived it with Mark B & have a big stake in it,” the 70-year-old President-elect tweeted Saturday. “Will devote ZERO TIME!”
“Reports by @CNN that I will be working on The Apprentice during my Presidency, even part time, are ridiculous & untrue – FAKE NEWS!” he continued. In a since-deleted tweet, the real estate mogul had misspelled “ridiculous”; he deleted the original tweet to correct his error.
On Thursday, December 8, Trump made headlines when Variety first reported that he would retain his executive producer credit on the show during his presidency, meaning that he would also continue to rake in a profit from the series. (Though it is not clear what his per-episode fee is, Variety reports that it is “likely to be in the low five figures, at minimum.”)
Conway, 49, defended Trump’s possible involvement with the show during an interview with CNN Friday, telling New Day host Alisyn Camerota that the billionaire would work on the show in his “spare time.”
“It certainly seems like there is a lot of time to do [things] based on recent precedent while you’re president of the United States,” Conway said. “But the point is the same. Whether it’s President Obama or President Donald Trump, the idea that these men are going to be all work and nothing else all the time is just unrealistic because it’s never happened in our lifetimes.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the new host of the hit NBC series, similarly backed Trump’s decision to remain an executive producer on the show, likening it to his own retention of movie credits during his stint as governor of California.
“I think that I knew that from the beginning that he’s an executive producer on the show,” he said during a press conference Friday. “It was on the credit when you watch the show, and I watched, I would say, probably 60 percent of all the shows before I took on this challenge [as host], so it’s no different than when I was running for governor and I became governor. My credit starring in Terminator still said Schwarzenegger and everything stayed the same and I continued getting royalties and all that stuff.”
Avid Trump supporter Newt Gingrich spoke out against the real estate mogul’s involvement on Fox News Friday, calling the idea “weird.”
“He is going to be the executive producer of the American government and a huge TV show called ‘Leading the World,’” the politician said, suggesting that Trump turn over his role to his children. “He ought to just relax, give the executive producer to Eric or Donald or Ivanka. I think he is still going through some transition things here where it hasn’t quite sunk in totally.”