President Donald Trump could not resist using his platform at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to take a dig at former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who succeeded him as the host of NBC’s The Apprentice.
While speaking at the annual event that brings members of Congress, religious leaders, and foreign dignitaries together in Washington, D.C., on the first Thursday of February every year, Trump began talking about the ratings of The Apprentice reality show when he was the host and then asked his audience to say a prayer to improve the ratings of The Apprentice with Schwarzenegger as star, CNN reports.
Trump also took a dig at Mark Burnett, executive producer of The Apprentice.
After calling Burnett a “special, special friend” and saying that he and Burnett had “an amazing life together,” he taunted him, saying that “Mark Burnett will never, ever bet against Trump again.”
Trump is understood to have taken a dig at Burnett for refusing to support him during the 2016 general election campaign.
Trump veered off script to talk about the ratings of The Apprentice and take a dig at Schwarzenegger and Burnett after Burnett introduced Trump. While introducing Trump, Burnett made a reference to The Apprentice, describing it as a “highly successful global television franchise.”
After the opening remarks of his speech, Trump began boasting about the success of the reality TV show when he was the host and poked fun at NBC and Schwarzenegger over the show’s ratings compared with the ratings when he was the host of the show.
“We had tremendous success on The Apprentice, and when I ran for president, I had to leave the show,” he said. “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, and Mark [Burnett] will never, ever bet against Trump again.”
He then asked the audience to pray for Schwarzenegger and the ratings of The Apprentice.
“Arnold is praying that President Trump can start improving his own approval ratings, which were the worst in history for an incoming president, by taking his job seriously and working inclusively,” a spokesperson for Schwarzenegger told ABC News.
Schwarzenegger also responded with a video, suggesting that he and Trump should swap jobs.
The National Prayer Breakfast? pic.twitter.com/KYUqEZbJIE— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) February 2, 2017
“Hey Donald, I have a great idea,” the movie star said. “Why don’t we switch jobs? You take over TV, since you’re such an expert at ratings, and I take over your job so people can finally sleep comfortably again.”
The premiere for The Apprentice with Schwarzenegger as host drew 4.95 million live viewers compared with 6.31 million viewers at the premiere when Trump was the host. But according to analysts, the ratings of The Apprentice had been slipping before Trump left.
This is not the first time that Trump has mocked Schwarzenegger over the ratings for The Apprentice since Schwarzenegger became the host of the show. He had previously poked fun at the movie star in a series of tweets early last month (see tweets below)
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
being a movie star-and that was season 1 compared to season 14. Now compare him to my season 1. But who cares, he supported Kasich & Hillary— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2017
I wish you the best of luck and I hope you'll work for ALL of the American people as aggressively as you worked for your ratings.— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) January 6, 2017
Schwarzenegger had endorsed Ohio governor John Kasich during the Republican presidential primaries and also refused to support Trump during the 2016 general election. The movie star has also criticized Trump’s policies since he became president. Schwarzenegger criticized Trump’s visa ban on travelers from seven majority Muslim countries, including Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria.
Trump’s comments at the National Prayer Breaker come after he reportedly had a testy phone conversation with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, describing as “dumb” a deal concluded under President Barack Obama to have 1,200 refugees moved from a detention center in Australia to the U.S.
Following reports that he hung up on the Australian leader, he tried to reassure his audience at the National Prayer Breakfast, saying, “When you hear about the tough phone calls I’m having, don’t worry about it… We have to be tough.”
[Featured Image by Mark J. Terrill/AP Images]