Trump Will Keep Making Money Off 'The Apprentice,' and NBC Will Have a Business Deal With a President It Covers
Donald Trump isn’t letting his job as president force him to stop taking checks from his old job as executive producer of the reality TV show “Celebrity Apprentice.” Despite reportedly being so unprepared for the presidency that President Obama has to give him extra guidance on what the position entails, Trump will keep his role on the NBC show, for which he will be paid an undisclosed per-episode fee. Variety, which originally broke the story, suggests the president-elect will make a minimum of five figures per episode.
Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” connection is yet another potential conflict of interest for Trump, who has ties to 500 businesses. The president-elect has still not provided a clear plan for how he will remove himself from his many business holdings. He tweeted in November that “legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations,” but considering his frequent lies and broken promises, it’s anyone’s guess if that will actually happen.
There are multiple problems with this arrangement, namely that Trump should probably focus on presidenting instead of trying to hold down multiple gigs. Campaign mouthpiece Kellyanne Conway suggested it’s no biggie that Trump, who has shown a startling lack of understanding around key policy points, will be keeping his reality TV role because "presidents have a right to do things in their spare time." That means one of the least qualified and unprepared president-elects of all time has no plans to pretend he’s focused on developing competency at his job. He’ll be doing president stuff here and there, but seems to plan on having a lot of spare time for other profitable and fame-boosting projects.
The deal also suggests that NBC, which has a news department that covers politics, sees no issue with continuing a financial relationship that may taint its reportage related to the Trump presidency. The network—which claimed to have severed ties with Trump after he launched his racist and xenophobic campaign last year—will have difficulty claiming impartiality considering it has a joint business venture with a president who will often be a part of its news.
Variety reports that the new “Celebrity Apprentice” (with Arnold Schwarzenegger taking on the role once filled by Trump) will be sponsored by Trident gum, Welch’s and Carnival Cruise Line. You may want to make note of the companies throwing financial backing into this whole problematic endeavor.
During the election, there were rumors of forthcoming leaks of videos depicting Trump doing and saying things that would do yet more damage to his image and potentially affect the outcome of the election. After the leak of the 2005 footage in which Trump bragged about grabbing women “by the pussy,” Bill Pruitt, producer of the first two seasons of “The Apprentice,” tweeted, “I assure you: when it comes to the #trumptapes there are far worse. #justthebegininng.” Fox News chief national correspondent Ed Henry said he had been told—by Ben Carson, no less—that there were “more revelations coming: ‘They have have more things & they will drip them out.’” There’s no way to be certain, but perhaps this deal offers some insight into why those tapes never came to light.