Before he ran for president, Donald Trump was a reality TV star on The Apprentice, broadcast by NBC. A generally popular show, The Apprentice featured young businessmen and women trying to prove their business acumen to Trump, who served as the host.
Often brash, the show became notorious for Trump bashing many of the young suits and dismissing them with his trademark phrase, “You’re fired!”
Today, six former contestants who appeared on the reality show fired back at Trump in a press conference, denouncing him as unfit to be president of the United States.
CNNMoney reported that Kwame Jackson, who was runner-up in the first season of The Apprentice, said Trump lacked the “temperament” to be president. Jackson also accused him of appealing “to the lowest common denominator of fear, racism and divisiveness in our populace.”
[Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images]
“Donald Trump is validating people’s hate and his bigotry in a way that I truly believe has the potential to tear this country apart,” said Tara Dowdell, who appeared on Season 3.
Randal Pinkett, who won Season 4 of The Apprentice, said that while he respected Trump’s business success, he joined the other former contestants in condemning “Donald’s campaign of sexism, xenophobia, racism, violence and hate.”
The other former contestants who spoke against Trump were Kevin Allen, Marshawn Evans Daniels, and James Sun.
CNN reported that Trump responded to the press conference with a statement.
“They just want to get back into the limelight like they had when they were with Trump. Total dishonesty and disloyalty.”
He added that “nobody would know who they are if it weren’t for me.”
Fox News noted, however, that not all former contestants on The Apprentice are opposed to Donald Trump. For instance, former contender Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth supports him, and has often spoken on his behalf at various media events.
Trump’s Success On The Apprentice
Donald Trump hosted The Apprentice for 11 years, from 2004-2015. The premise of the show was to have young people with business degrees compete to see who would win, and hence get to work in one of Trump’s businesses.
Trump briefly toyed with running for president in 2012, but eventually declined. As Fox News reported at the time, Trump cited his “passion” for business, and his desire to continue his show and the spinoff, The Celebrity Apprentice.
His children, Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka Trump all appeared with him regularly from 2006-2015.
Back then, Trump gained attention by questioning whether President Barack Obama was a natural-born citizen, then claiming victory when Obama produced the long-form version of his birth certificated, according to Fox News.
“I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and, ultimately, the general election,” he said in a statement, released on May 16, 2011.
But because of his controversial statements, Laurence O’Donnell, the commentator and host of MSNBC’s The Last Word, demanded that NBC, the parent company of MSNBC, fire Trump, according to Business Insider. Ratings took a dive after Trump’s comments, and The Atlantic Monthly reported that this was in part because viewership of The Celebrity Apprentice “is among the most liberal in primetime television.”
Trump continued as host of The Apprentice until 2015, when he announced he was running for president.
After Trump left The Apprentice, NBC announced that the new host would be actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
What do you think? Do you agree with the former Apprentice contestants that Donald Trump is not qualified to run for president? Or, do you agree with Trump?
[Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images]