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Clay Aiken Says Donald Trump Didn't Call the Shots on Apprentice: 'He Didn't Fire Those People'

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Steve Mack/FilmMagic

Donald Trump famously declared, “You’re fired!” many times on his reality competition show The Apprentice. But former Celebrity Apprentice contestant Clay Aiken says there was a man behind the curtain.

“Trump didn’t decide who got fired on Apprentice; I mean, NBC made those decisions,” Aiken, 38, recently told Domecast, a podcast by North Carolina’s News & Observer. “It was very much, ‘I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.’ ”

Aiken appeared on the long-running show during Season 12 in 2012. He revealed to Domecast that then-host Trump wasn’t closely involved with matters of the competition.

“There used to be a little thing right on his desk that looked like a phone — he pretended it was a phone — but it was actually a teleprompter where the producers were sending him notes,” the American Idol alum said.

“He didn’t know that people were getting in fights during the week while we were doing these tasks, the producers did,” Aiken added.

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Aiken has spoken in the past about his time with Trump on The Celebrity Apprentice, calling the 70-year-old a “good guy,” according to Variety. However, he has been critical of Trump since the business mogul launched his bid for the presidency.

He told Domecast he believes the controversial president is likely leading the country the way he allegedly hosted the show.

“The man as president definitely has a teleprompter sitting on his desk right now with people telling him, ‘Well, such and such is in the healthcare bill, don’t say this,’ ” Aiken said. “I feel like half the time his teleprompter has broken down as president and he doesn’t know what’s going on.”

Aiken, who ran for Congress in 2014, added that he is not looking to to bad-mouth Trump.

“I’m not saying this to be incendiary, but Donald Trump isn’t the businessman that people believe he is because we saw him on TV playing The Apprentice,” Aiken said. “And he did look like he was leading. But, on The Apprentice, he doesn’t lead.”