Influencer-in-Chief? Trump and ‘The Apprentice’
February 3rd, 2017
They hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to take my place. And we know how that turned out. The ratings right went down the tubes. It’s been a total disaster… I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings.
Arnold was quick to issue a retort, posting a video on Twitter in which he offered Trump his old job back. In return, the former governor of California said he’d take over the presidency so that “people can finally sleep comfortably again,” tweeting:
The National Prayer Breakfast? pic.twitter.com/KYUqEZbJIE
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) February 2, 2017
It wasn’t the first time Trump tweeted about the show’s flailing ratings or its new celebrity host. After the show premiered on Jan. 2, the then-president elect not so humblebragged:
Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got “swamped” (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT. So much for….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2017
On Friday, following the prayer breakfast and the Apprentice’s Thursday night show, he kept it going:
Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger did a really bad job as Governor of California and even worse on the Apprentice…but at least he tried hard!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2017
And the media is eating it up. The feud between The Donald and The Terminator has spawned headlines such as “There’s a Trump and Schwarzenegger ‘The Apprentice’ Smack Down” and “President Trump Insults Schwarzenegger’s Apprentice Ratings at National Prayer Breakfast(?).” And of course the inevitable #PrayForArnold has ignited the Twittersphere.
What’s behind this feud? Perhaps it’s this: The ratings for the show have indeed been slipping. And as an executive producer of the show — a fact that many media outlets fail to mention in their reporting — Trump has something to gain if ratings improve as he noted in this tweet:
I have NOTHING to do with The Apprentice except for fact that I conceived it with Mark B & have a big stake in it. Will devote ZERO TIME!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2016
This made us wonder if the tweet storm is really just a free #ad for the show by both the host and ex-host, aka the Influencer-in-Chief. And as such, was it effective? Not so much. Fortune reported low ratings for the show’s season finale.
Find more of our coverage on Trump here.
This story was updated on 2/14/17.