There’s no question that NBC TV shows The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice helped Donald Trump‘s ascension in the public eye. By that logic, the reality shows themselves had a hand in Trump’s current run for the Republican nomination, and by extension, so did the contestants, celebrity and otherwise, who took part over the years.
It seems that not all of them want to be associated with the GOP frontrunner, however; a group of six former Apprentice contestants held a press conference on Friday to express their views on Trump.
Season 1 runner-up Kwame Jackson was blunt about how he feels.
“Let us choose Kennedy over Kardashianism,” he said, adding that Trump doesn’t have the right “temperament” to be U.S. president, and accused him of appealing “to the lowest common denominator of fear, racism and divisiveness in our populace.”
“He is stoking the flames of our worst demons,” he stated.
Season 4 winner Randal Pinkett led the charge at the press conference. Pinkett has been a vocal critic of Trump’s campaign since the millionaire started campaigning.
“We acknowledge Donald’s success as a businessman, and genuinely appreciate the opportunity The Apprentice afforded all of us,” Pinkett said. “We, however, strongly condemn Donald’s campaign of sexism, xenophobia, racism, violence and hate. Our allegiance to our country supersedes our relationship with Donald … we see today as an act of patriotism, not disloyalty.”
Aside from Jackson and Pinkett, the other four anti-Trump ex-Apprenticers are Kevin Allen, Tara Dowdell, Marshawn Evans Daniels and James Sun.
But not all former Apprentice contestants are against Trump. Piers Morgan, ex-CNN host and winner of Celebrity Apprentice Season 7, and Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, who has appeared on Apprentice iterations three times but has never won, have both supported Trump publicly.
An obviously upset Trump responded to the press conference with a statement, deriding the former contestants who don’t support him as “failing wannabes.”
“How quickly they forget,” he said. “Nobody would know who they are if it weren’t for me. They just want to get back into the limelight like they had when they were with Trump. Total dishonesty and disloyalty.”
“I couldn’t have been nicer to them,” he added, then threatening to release a highlight reel of the anti-Trump contestants praising him during their days on the reality show.
Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is taking over hosting duties on The Celebrity Apprentice this fall.Follow @CJancelewicz
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