President Donald Trump asked attendees at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning to pray for former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who replaced him as the host of NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice,” because the show’s ratings have not reached the level they did with Trump as the star.
Trump was introduced at the breakfast by Mark Burnett, the producer and creator of both “The Celebrity Apprentice” as well as the show’s original version, “The Apprentice.” Trump called Burnett “a special, special friend” and said they had “had an amazing life together.” But the president also took a shot at the producer who launched the reality TV show that magnified his fame and broadcast him into millions of living rooms around the country.
“When I ran for president, I had to leave the show. That’s when I knew for sure I was doing it. They hired a big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to take pace my place, and we know how that turned out,” Trump said. “The ratings went right down the tubes. It’s been a total disaster. And Mark will never, ever bet against Trump again, and I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings.”
Trump joked that his agent had told him not to do “The Apprentice,” and that he wound up firing that agent over the bad advice.
It is not the first time that the president has clashed with Schwarzenegger, who endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich during the Republican primary and refused to back Trump during the general election. Early last month, Trump attacked his “Apprentice” replacement’s ratings in a series of posts to Twitter, to which Schwarzenegger responded by tweeting ““There’s nothing more important than the people’s work, @realDonaldTrump.”
More recently, Schwarzenegger was critical of Trump’s executive order temporarily banning travelers from certain majority-Muslim nations from entering the U.S. and stopping indefinitely the flow of refugees from Syria. The former California governor said the order “was vetted badly” and that “there is another way of going about it to do it the right way and to accomplish still all the same goals. And so I think that they were hasty with it.”