President-elect Donald Trump lambasted CNN for the “fake news” it allegedly reported regarding details of his relationship with NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice” show in two Tweets Saturday morning.
NBC had announced Trump would remain credited as “The Apprentice’s” executive producer — a role the president-elect has indicated would take little, to none of his time and is related only to his large stake in the show he started in 2003. When CNN reported Friday that he would continue to work on the show while serving as the President of the United States of America, Trump took umbrage with the claims.
“I have NOTHING to do with The Apprentice except for fact that I conceived it with Mark B[urnett] & have a big stake in it. Will devote ZERO TIME!”
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“Reports by @CNN that I will be working on The Apprentice during my Presidency, even part time, are ridiculous & untrue – FAKE NEWS!” Trump tweeted.
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“I have NOTHING to do with The Apprentice except for fact that I conceived it with Mark B[urnett] & have a big stake in it. Will devote ZERO TIME!” Trump said in another second Tweet.
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CNN claimed it would be a “major conflict of interest” for NBC to continue airing a show listing Trump as an executive producer while reporting on his presidency, especially with Trump receiving an executive producer fee. In its report, CNN also highlighted Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway’s defense of Trump’s connection as an executive producer with the show during a Friday interview on CNN’s “New Day” program.
“He’s a very transparent guy. Everyone can see what he’s doing, and the fact is that he is conferring with all types of experts who tell him what he can do and not do as President of the United States,” Conway said. “If this is one of the approved activities, then perhaps he will consider staying on.”
Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks also told CNN Money that “Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show and conceived of it with [executive producer] Mark Burnett.” But that doesn’t mean that the president-elect would devote any time to the show’s production.
The show, which will continue as “The New Celebrity Apprentice” with new host Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2017, will not occupy the president-elect’s time, according to Trump.
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Trump’s reference to “fake news” comes several days after Conway blasted Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager, for blaming the spread of so-called “fake news” for Trump’s presidential victory.
“I think the biggest piece of fake news in the election was that Donald Trump couldn’t win,” Conway said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “That was peddled for probably weeks and months before the campaign — definitely in the closing days. If you look at major news stations and major cable news networks it’s unmistakable … Literally, if you go back, and because we have them, pull the front page — it’s unbelievable. And it’s fake because it’s based off things that just aren’t true.”