President-elect Donald Trump continues to elevate the ire of his critics with both his foreign and domestic business ties, but most have been concerned about possible conflicts of interest arising from his branding business, real estate holdings, and the level of access given to his adult children. Celebrity Apprentice didn’t really factor into the debate, but according to Variety, the soon-to-be sitting President of the United States is going to retain his association with the NBC reality show, earning a producer credit and a salary that is reported to be in the low five figures. No word on if the credit will read, “Executive Producer President Donald Trump” or just “Donald Trump.”
Trump’s actual role also isn’t known, but it’s doubtful that he’ll be active in the production because, you know, he’s gonna be presidenting for the next 4-8 years. Trump long ago realized that he couldn’t continue to star on the show as Commander-in-Chief, so we’re just assuming he knows that he probably can’t effectively choose who gets hired and fired behind the scenes, either. For that awesome responsibility, producer Mark Burnett remains.
Burnett tried to run hard and fast from the onus of being in favor of Trump’s campaign following the release of the Access Hollywood tape but now he’s helping Trump with his inaugural party preparation. Because nothing brings two people back together like a helicopter ride.
Another interesting clash? New Celebrity Apprentice host Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said he wouldn’t vote for Trump, but now he may have to live with him being his official unofficial boss.
As for those conflict-of-interest concerns, it’s not likely that representatives from foreign governments will pop up on the show as contestants but it’s a novel thing to have the president on the payroll of a major network (especially considering that he can’t seem to stop anger-tweeting at SNL).
Besides his war against SNL, Trump’s history with NBC and the show is a bit murky. There was a parting of the ways at the start of his campaign and allegations of sexual harassment and racist behavior leaked out later. Still, if he’s entitled to a salary by the terms of his deal, then he’s gonna get that money. What’s he going to do with that money? Variety points out that there is precedent for presidents to earn royalties from books and that, when that was the case with President Obama in 2010, he gave his money to charity. Will President-elect Trump do the same thing? Time will tell.