President-elect Donald Trump hopped on his favored form of communication Saturday morning to distance himself from the program that helped cement his reality show stature.
After reports this week that he will remain an executive producer of NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice” — even after he takes office next month — Trump tweeted that he will have “NOTHING to do with” the show.
“Will devote ZERO TIME!” he wrote.
He then name-dropped CNN, saying its reporting that he will be involved with the show part-time during his presidency are “rediculous [sic] & untrue – FAKE NEWS!” He later sent a corrected version of the same tweet.
But on CNN on Friday, Trump aide Kellyanne Conway suggested there’s nothing unusual about presidents working on other projects outside of the White House.
“Presidents have a right to do things in their spare time,” she said, adding about Trump’s TV role: “If this is one of the approved activities, then perhaps he will consider staying on.”
A Trump spokeswoman, along with MGM, the company that owns “The Apprentice” brand, have said that while the president-elect helped to conceive of the show, he is not expected to have a role in it when it returns to TV on Jan. 2.
NBC, the network on which the show airs, severed business ties with Trump in June 2015 over his “derogatory statements” about immigrants. NBC Entertainment has declined comment on this story.
Trump is being replaced as host of this star-studded edition by action star and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Questions have also been swirling around whether Trump will profit from his continued ties with “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
Variety, which first broke the news of the business mogul’s role, reported that he would likely continue to receive a “per-episode fee … in the low five-figures, at a minimum.”
Asked whether Trump would continue receiving royalties from the show, a spokeswoman declined to comment.
“Additional details regarding his business interests will be shared December 15th,” she said in a statement. Trump plans to hold a news conference that day outlining what he plans to do with his financial interests, including his Trump Organization empire, when he takes office.
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So far, he has declined to detail what he will do, although he said on the campaign trail that his business holdings would be placed into a blind trust with his oldest three children in charge.
Trump on Saturday morning also responded to the announcement Friday that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is out of the running for the secretary of state position in the new administration.
Giuliani, “one of the finest people I know and a former GREAT Mayor of N.Y.C., just took himself out of consideration for ‘State’,” Trump tweeted.
Potentially tapping Giuliani as the U.S.’s top diplomat raised concerns over potential conflicts of interest, including how he made millions of dollars from his work for foreign governments.