During an event that’s supposed to be solemn and sincere, U.S. President Donald Trump brought up Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s Celebrity Apprentice ratings, mocking how low they are in comparison to when he was at the helm of the reality show.
After being introduced by Apprentice executive producer Mark Burnett at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., Trump took the baton and bragged about his performance as host.
In a move that elicited a hushed silence in the room, Trump then asked the audience to pray for Schwarzenegger and his Apprentice ratings.
“I want to just pray for Arnold if we can — for those ratings.”
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ABC News White House reporter Katherine Faulders reports that a Schwarzenegger spokesperson said that “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.”
Schwarzenegger himself responded on Twitter with a short video:
“Hey Donald! I have a great idea. Why don’t we switch jobs? You take over TV, because you’re such an expert in ratings, and I take over your job,” said Schwarzenegger in the recording. “And then people can finally sleep comfortably again. Hmm?”
“I think the real problem is that it was vetted badly,” Schwarzenegger said Monday in an interview on Extra. “If they would run this by the Justice Department and Homeland Security … and had the lawyers really study and focus on it, and give it some time to do it the right way.”
“The laws that stick the longest are the ones when both parties work together,” he said, adding that this should be a “wake-up call” for Trump.
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At the beginning of January, Trump mocked Schwarzenegger’s Apprentice ratings.
The then-president-elect posted two tweets blasting what he interpreted as Schwarzenegger’s ineffectiveness as host. He goes on to call himself a “ratings machine,” and claims that he was a far superior host.
“Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got ‘swamped’ (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT,” he wrote. “So much for 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.”
A few hours after the posting, a measured, calm Schwarzenegger replied to Trump’s tweets, directing him to a quote by former U.S. president Abraham Lincoln from his inauguration:
The New Celebrity Apprentice premiered on Jan. 2 with Schwarzenegger at the helm, and Entertainment Weekly reports that the new iteration lost nearly half its adult audience (in the 18-49 demo rating) compared to its previous version two years ago. Overall, the show’s viewership dropped 44 per cent from the 2015 debut, when Trump was still host.
Since then, Apprentice ratings have sagged to record-low numbers.
The National Prayer Breakfast is an annual event at which Congress members and faith leaders gather together.
You can watch Trump’s National Prayer Breakfast comments in the video, above.