After the “New Celebrity Apprentice” host said in an interview published Friday that he would “decline” to do the show again if asked, and blamed Trump for the show’s poor ratings, the president retaliated Saturday morning by saying Schwarzenegger “was fired.”
“Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t voluntarily leaving the Apprentice,” Trump tweeted, “he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show.”
Schwarzenegger tweeted back, “You should think about hiring a new joke writer and a fact checker.”
Trump hosted “The Apprentice” since its inception in 2004. Schwarzenegger took over for Season 15 due to Trump’s presidential campaign and eventual election. Still, as Variety first reported, Trump retained his executive producer credit on the show. The NBC show has not yet been picked up for another season, with or without Schwarzenegger.
On Friday, Schwarzenegger blamed the show’s poor ratings on Trump’s continued involvement. “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,” he said.
With Schwarzenegger as host, the show has struggled in the ratings, which Trump has dissed over Twitter and in person. In one recent instance in February, the president mocked Schwarzenegger at the National Prayer Breakfast. “I want to just pray for Arnold if we can — for those ratings,” he said.
Schwarzenegger responded in a video posted to Twitter, “Hey Donald, I have a great idea: Why don’t we switch jobs?”
Just hours before on Saturday morning, Trump had unleashed a series of tweets accusing Barack Obama of “Nixon/Watergate”-level mismanagement, including wire tapping his phones during the election. “This is McCarthyism!” he tweeted.
An Obama spokes person later released a statement that said, “… neither President Obama nor anyone any White House official ever order surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simple false.”