U.S. President-elect Donald Trump may no longer be starring in NBC's hit reality show "The New Celebrity Apprentice" but he will still be part of it as an executive producer. As Trump's decision quickly sparked a debate, one of his top advisers defended it by comparing his "Celebrity Apprentice" stint to Barack Obama's golfing.
On Thursday, Dec. 8, a spokeswoman for the "Apprentice" series creator Mark Burnett confirmed that the president-elect will serve as one of the show's executive producers. Burnett's studio MGM, however, refused to talk about Trump's salary for his role in the upcoming season, which will feature Arnold Schwarzenegger as the new host.
Following the controversial decision of Trump to remain as EP in "The New Celebrity Apprentice" season 8, many took to social media to express their confusion and disapproval. With a lot of entertainers, pundits and media outlets weighing in on the matter, Trump's adviser Kellyanne Conway spoke up to defend her boss' decision.
On Friday, Dec. 9, Conway, who is also Trump's former campaign manager, dismissed the backlash during her interview on CNN New Day. She argued that the president has "a right to do things in [his] spare time." Calling Trump "a very transparent guy," Conway explained that the president-elect confers with all kinds of experts who advise him on the activities that he can and cannot do.
"If this is one of the approved activities, then perhaps he will consider staying on," she added, referring to Trump's upcoming "The New Celebrity Apprentice" stint.
It is believed that Trump's participation in a show aired by a network that also reports on his term as the U.S. president will lead to major conflicts of interest. However, Conway did not address this directly but instead touched upon Barack Obama's golf hobby.
"Were we so concerned about the hours and hours and hours spent on the golf course of the current president? I mean presidents have a right to do things in their spare time, in their leisure time," she argued.
In the meantime, Trump himself has yet to comment on the matter. "The New Celebrity Apprentice" season 8 will premiere on NBC on Jan. 2, 2017.