On Thursday morning, Trump said during remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast that he wanted to “pray for Arnold” due to Schwarzenegger bringing in low ratings on “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
Schwarzenegger suggested in a short clip posted to social media that the two swap roles.
“Hey Donald, I have a great idea. Why don’t we switch jobs?” Schwarzenegger said. “You take over TV because you’re such an expert on ratings and I take over your job and then people can finally sleep comfortably again.”
A spokesman for Schwarzenegger, Daniel Ketchell, expanded on the former governor’s remarks in a statement.
“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,” Ketchell said in an email to CNNMoney.
The Whole episode left a bad taste in the mouths of some Chicago religious leaders, especially many Muslims who have felt persecuted by Trump’s executive order which limits their ability to travel to and from the U.S.
“Rather than focus on a reality television show, there is serious social and political strife in this country right now. We’re seeing social upheaval, disunity, issues left and right,” said Aymen Abdel Halim, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.
Mark Burnett, the television producer who with Trump created “The Apprentice,” was around for the feud as well — he introduced Trump at the breakfast.
Schwarzenegger was announced as Trump’s replacement on the show in September 2015, after Trump decided to run for office.
Trump praised Schwarzenegger at the time, saying on Twitter, “Congrats to my friend @Schwarzenegger who is doing next season’s Celebrity Apprentice. He’ll be great & will raise lots of $ for charity.”
Trump’s tone was a bit different Thursday.
“The ratings went right down the tubes,” Trump said at the breakfast. “It has been a disaster.”
Trump then said to the audience, “I want to just pray for Arnold … for those ratings.”
The comment appeared to be a joke, but it was not the first time that Trump has commented dismissively about the ratings for “Celebrity Apprentice” since Schwarzenegger’s version of the show premiered last month.
The president called out Schwarzenegger when the new host brought in smaller viewership for the premiere of the new season than Trump had in his final season as host.
“Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got “swamped” (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT,” the then-president-elect tweeted last month.
Schwarzenegger responded to these remarks by wishing Trump “the best of luck” and saying that he hopes Trump will “work for ALL of the American people as aggressively as you worked for your ratings.”