Arnold Schwarzenegger and Donald Trump have been battling it out on Twitter and the media for the past several months, with Arnold’s latest video mocking Donald for his low approval ratings. Yet, even though it’s hard to remember now, the two celebrities were once good friends.
Donald Trump, before he became the president of the United States, was quick to congratulate his “friend,” Arnold Schwarzenegger, on being chosen to replace him as the host of Celebrity Apprentice. And Arnold Schwarzenegger had nothing but kind words to say about Trump. So when did it all go downhill? Let’s have a look back at the history of this ongoing relationship.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s friendship with Donald Trump can be dated back to 2004. Shortly after The Terminator was elected for his first term as Governor of California, he attended the Republican National Convention in New York. According to Politico, Schwarzenegger and his family were supposed to stay at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. But at Donald Trump’s personal request, Schwarzenegger and his party moved to the Trump Hotel.
The move was so unexpected, that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wife at the time, Maria Shriver, allegedly asked out loud why they were staying in “this dump” – and was told to ask her husband. When Arnold and Donald met during the convention itself, they reportedly joked around about Arnold’s receding hairline.
“Tell me the truth,” Donald said to Arnold, “When it was sopping wet in the shower this morning, it fell all the way to the floor?”
Arnold’s First Apprentice Appearance
While the latest feud between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Donald Trump seems to revolve around Arnold’s hosting of the Celebrity Apprentice, this wasn’t the first time Arnold appeared on Trump’s signature show.
Back in 2007, on Season 6, Episode 9 of The Apprentice (when Donald Trump was still hosting it, and before it became a “celebrity show”), the winner of that week’s episode, along with four other contestants, were all granted a special reward: a private flight to Sacramento, for a meeting with Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the meeting, over tea, Arnold told the story of his political success, and Donald called him “a great friend.”
Then, just a month after Arnold’s Apprentice appearance, The New York Times reported that Donald Trump had donated $10,000 to governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, to help pay off his re-election campaign debts. Arnold denied there was any connection between the donation and his appearance on Donald Trump’s TV show, but Jamie Court, president of a group that tracks campaign donations, was concerned.
“He’s clearly using his personal friendships and his celebrity to pay off his campaign debt, and that’s just wrong.”
Years later, in 2015, things were still good between the two friends, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Donald Trump, as it was announced that The Terminator is going to replace Donald as the host of the Celebrity Apprentice.
In an interview on In Depth With Graham Bensinger, Schwarzenegger described a call between him and Trump, in which the two congratulated each other.
“Then I called Donald Trump and I said to him, ‘I just want you to know that I would like to take the position that you had. You did such a great job. I don’t know if I can fill your shoes, they’re big shoes to fill but I will give it my everything.’
And he said ‘Arnold this is such a great idea. It’s fantastic. You’re the right guy. I know all of the other characters that want to get it. I told NBC don’t take them – Schwarzenegger’s the guy.’ He was very complimentary.”
Following Schwarzenegger’s new appointment, Donald Trump even took to Twitter to congratulate his old friend.
Congrats to my friend @Schwarzenegger who is doing next season’s Celebrity Apprentice. He'll be great & will raise lots of $ for charity.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2015
Everything looked great for the two pals, but that’s when Arnold and Donald’s relationship began to spiral out of control. During Trump’s presidential campaign, Arnold refused to endorse him, voting instead for John Kasich.
Later, when Trump was the official Republican candidate, Arnold announced in a Tweet that he would not vote for him.
“For the first time since I became a citizen in 1983, I will not vote for the Republican candidate for President.”
As proud as I am to label myself a Republican, there is one label that I hold above all else – American. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/biRvY8S3aZ
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) October 8, 2016
Following the season premiere of the new Celebrity Apprentice, with Arnold Schwarzenegger as its host, ratings were down – and Donald Trump, who remained executive producer on the show, was quick to gloat on Twitter.
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
In a speech during a National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump also asked people to pray for Arnold and his ratings.
“When I ran for president I had to leave the show. And they hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger to take my place, and we know how that turned out. The ratings went right down the tubes. It’s been a total disaster… I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings.”
On the other side, Arnold did not stay quiet. Responding to Trump’s tweets, Arnold was questioning Donald’s continuing involvement with the show, despite being the president of the United States. Arnold was so angry at the time, that he even considered violence, as he told Men’s Journal.
“I called my assistant and said, ‘I think what we really should do is request a meeting and go back to New York… And then we just smash his face into the table.'”
Instead, Arnold took to Twitter, and posted a video with a suggestion – he and Donald could switch jobs.
The National Prayer Breakfast? pic.twitter.com/KYUqEZbJIE
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) February 2, 2017
Eventually, Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he would be leaving Celebrity Apprentice, stating that he loved doing the show, but noting that it had too much “baggage.” Donald Trump was quick to respond on Twitter, saying that Arnold’s departure wasn’t of his own accord.
Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
The latest jab in this ongoing feud between these once-friends, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Donald Trump, comes from Arnie. Earlier this week, he posted a video on Twitter, mocking Donald for his low approval ratings.
“Oh, Donald, the ratings are in, and you got swamped. Wow. Now you’re in the thirties? But what do you expect? I mean when you take away after school programs for children and meals on wheels for the poor people, that’s not what you call ‘making America great again’. Come on!”
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) March 21, 2017
Surely, the ball is now in Donald Trump’s court. And if their shared history has taught us anything – Trump will not stay quiet regarding his former pal, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
[Featured Images by Michal Czerwonka/Getty Images and Mark Wilson/Getty Images]