Just days after telling members of Congress that the “time for trivial fights” is over, President Donald Trump blasted Arnold Schwarzenegger via Twitter on Saturday morning for leaving The New Celebrity Apprentice.
“Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show,” Trump wrote.
Schwarzenegger wasted no time in responding to Trump. “You should think about hiring a new joke writer and a fact checker,” the former California governor wrote on Twitter.
On Friday, Schwarzenegger released a statement to announce he was done with the NBC reality series, which still counts the president as an executive producer.
“I loved every second of working with NBC and [executive producer] Mark Burnett. Everyone — from the celebrities to the crew to the marketing department — was a straight 10, and I would absolutely work with all of them again on a show that doesn’t have this baggage,” Schwarzenegger said, without referencing Trump by name.
As reported previously by EW, NBC insiders say the network has not made a decision about the fate of The New Celebrity Apprentice, with or without Schwarzenegger. But the show’s ratings remained poor through its run this year, grabbing about 4 million viewers on average for new episodes, while The New Celebrity Apprentice finale placed last in its time slot. Schwarzenegger’s statement was cited by some as a possible preemptive measure to leave the show before being fired himself.
Trump has frequently slammed Schwarzenegger for the show’s poor ratings, even mocking the Terminator star from the stage of the National Prayer Breakfast last month.
“When I ran for president I knew I had to leave the show, that’s when I knew for sure I was doing it,” Trump said after he was introduced at the event by Mark Burnett. “And they hired a big, big movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger to take my place, and we know how that turned out. 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.”
In response, Schwarzenegger poked Trump via social media, asking the president if he wanted to “switch jobs” so the “people can finally sleep comfortably again.”
— Reporting by James Hibberd