Donald Trump did not seem to have a lot of friends on “The Apprentice”.
A New Yorker profile titled “How Mark Burnett Resurrected Donald Trump as an Icon of American Success” features interviews with several staff members on the reality television competition.
The show’s editor for six seasons, Jonathon Braun, doubts the existence of a rumoured leaked tape in which Trump used the “N-word” on set. “If there was a tape, it would have spread like wildfire,” Braun said.
Another anonymous production member shared a similar sentiment. “If somebody had the goods, it would have leaked long ago,” said the source. “There were no Trump fans on the set. I don’t know a single person who worked on the show who voted for Trump.”
Braun and producer Bill Pruitt were tasked with making the now U.S. President seem like a status of wealth and power when the show launched in 2004. “Most of us knew he was a fake,” Braun said. “He had just gone through I don’t know how many bankruptcies. But we made him out to be the most important person in the world. It was like making the court jester the king.”
“We walked through the offices and saw chipped furniture,” Pruitt explained. “We saw a crumbling empire at every turn. Our job was to make it seem otherwise.”
Harvard graduate Kwame Jackson was a standout cast member on the show’s original season. He said, however, his motivation to compete on the show had everything to do with public visibility and nothing to do with Trump.
“Main Street America saw all those glittery things, the helicopter and the gold-plated sinks, and saw the most successful person in the universe,” he said. “The people I knew in the world of high finance understood that it was all a joke.”
Critics of the U.S. President have mocked him what they call rambling speeches. Producer Katherine Walker said Trump was no more well-spoken back in 2004. “We cleaned it up so that he was his best self,” she said. “I’m sure Donald thinks that he was never edited.”
“The Apprentice” ran for 15 seasons from 2004 to 2017 and spawned the popular spin-off “The Celebrity Apprentice”. Arnold Schwarzenegger took over as the host of “The New Celebrity Apprentice” in 2017.