Arnold Schwarzenegger said on March 7 that President Donald Trump is in love with him.
The joke was stated during an interview on "The Michael Smerconish Program," reports Page Six. When the host asked why Trump seems obsessed with him, the former governor-turned-actor replied, "I think he's in love with me."
Schwarzenegger announced on March 3 that he would not be returning for another season of "Celebrity Apprentice," which was previously hosted by Trump. “Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t voluntarily leaving the Apprentice," tweeted the president, "he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show."
Trump had already taken a swipe at his "Apprentice" successor during a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, an annual affair that was begun during the administration of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It didn't take long for his comments to veer from spiritual matters to his favorite television show, as the official White House transcript reveals.
"And when I ran for President, I had to leave the show," Trump explained. "That’s when I knew for sure I was doing it. 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. ... And I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings, okay?"
In a statement quoted by USA Today, Schwarzenegger said, “I loved every second of working with NBC and 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.”
He continued his thoughts in an interview with Empire. "I learned a lot, I had a great time, it was a really great opportunity. But under the circumstances I don't want to do it again."
Schwarzenegger suggested that the anti-Trump campaign #grabyourwallet hurt the ratings.
"When people found out that Trump was still involved as executive producer and was still receiving money from the show, then half the people [started] boycotting it," he said. "Even if asked [to do it again] I would decline. With Trump being involved in the show people have a bad taste and don't want to participate as a spectator or as a sponsor or in any other way support the show. It's a very divisive period now and I think this show got caught up in all that division."
Regarding Trump's critical remarks on Twitter, Schwarzenegger offered a stinging proposal: "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 and people can finally sleep comfortably."