Clay Aiken is blowing the lid off of Donald Trump’s starring role on The Apprentice. While the future POTUS seemingly called the shots during his reign on the long-running NBC reality show, Aiken, who competed on The Apprentice in 2012, says Trump had no real power when it came to which contestants he said “You’re fired” to.
Aiken told the weekly podcast Domecast that Trump, who had an executive producer credit on the show, didn’t decide who got fired on The Apprentice and that NBC made those decisions. In addition, the American Idol alum revealed that Donald actually read lines from a teleprompter when he was talking to the contestants in the boardroom.
“There used to be a little thing right on his desk that looked like a phone — he pretended it was a phone — but it was actually a teleprompter where the producers were sending him notes,” Aiken alleged, according to Us Weekly.
Clay Aiken dished that Donald Trump had no idea about what was going on with the contestants as they did their tasks and that producers would fill him in on the fights and other drama that occurred and send him notes.
“It was very much, ‘I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV,'” Clay said of Trump’s role on The Apprentice.
Clay also admitted he sometimes wonders if Trump is now leading the country in much of the same way as he did on The Apprentice.
“I think to myself, the man as president definitely has a teleprompter sitting on his desk right now with people telling him, ‘Well such and such is in the healthcare bill, don’t say this,'” Aiken said.
“I feel like half the time his teleprompter has broken down as president and he doesn’t know what’s going on.”
Aiken, who ran for Congress in 2014, told the Domecast podcast that he wasn’t trying to bad-mouth Trump, but that he just wanted people to know that. “On The Apprentice, he didn’t lead.”
This isn’t the first time Clay Aiken has dished on Trump’s pre-Presidential days, but it is the first time he has revealed such jaw-dropping behind-the-scenes secrets about The Apprentice. Last fall, Aiken told Variety Trump was “a good guy” based on the reality TV experiences he had with him. That disclaimer could save the former reality star a retaliatory Twitter war.
Clay Aiken’s account of Donald Trump’s Apprentice role is very different from past stories about the show’s on-set antics. Last year, Fortune posted a detailed story of Trump’s rise to reality TV fame, revealing that the real estate mogul actually came up with his signature catchphrase, “You’re fired,” and that he refused to follow a detailed outline for the show. Trump reportedly said upfront he intended to wing it on The Apprentice. According to the report, Trump would read the outline for the episode ahead of time, but once the camera was rolling, he would improvise his part.
In addition, Trump reportedly didn’t like the “firing” part of The Apprentice and often consulted with the two managers he had at his side in the boardroom scenes to seek their advice on who to send packing.
Take a look at the video below to see Clay Aiken and Donald Trump on The Apprentice.
[Featured Image by Rob Kim/Getty Images]