President Donald Trump asked for people attending the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday morning to take a moment to pray that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Celebrity Apprentice” ratings go up.
The NBC show ― of which the president is still an executive producer ― has struggled to obtain the ratings it achieved at its peak. Schwarzenegger replaced Trump as the host in January, and Trump tweeted after the season premiere that the former California governor was nothing compared to the “ratings machine, DJT.” He went back for Schwarzenegger again on Thursday in Washington, D.C.
“When I ran for president, I had to leave the show. That’s when I knew for sure I was doing it [running for president],” 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.”
“I want to just pray for Arnold if we can for those ratings,” Trump added.
The comments came as Trump discussed his relationship with “Celebrity Apprentice” creator Mark Burnett, who introduced Trump at the breakfast.
“Mark will never, ever bet against Trump again,” the president said.
Schwarzenegger spokesman Daniel Ketchell responded to Trump’s comments in a statement provided to ABC.
“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,” it read.
Schwarzenegger personally responded soon after, suggesting that he and Trump should switch jobs so that people can “finally sleep comfortably again.”
The two men have been publicly sparring since Schwarzenegger announced last year that he would not vote for Trump in the presidential election. But some felt that it odd that Trump would bring up TV ratings at an event as prestigious as the National Prayer Breakfast.
And for what it’s worth, the “Celebrity Apprentice” ratings were on the decline well before Schwarzenegger ever took over for Trump.
UPDATE ― Friday, 8:27 a.m.: He’s still talking about it.