“I loved every second of working with NBC and Mark Burnett,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter (NBC did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment). “Everyone — from the celebrities to the crew to the marketing department — was a straight 10, and I would absolutely work with all of them again on a show that doesn’t have this baggage.”
Since Schwarzenegger succeeded President Donald Trump as host of the reality game show’s latest season, renamed The New Celebrity Apprentice, the two have publicly sparred.
Following the season premiere in January, Trump took to Twitter to mock Schwarzenegger, claiming that he got “swamped” and “destroyed” in comparison to “the ratings machine, DJT” (referring to himself).
Schwarzenegger fought back, tweeting: “There’s nothing more important than the people’s work, @realDonaldTrump. I wish you the best of luck and I hope you’ll work for ALL of the American people as aggressively as you worked for your ratings.”
The former California governor and high-profile Republican — who refused to endorse Trump’s candidacy last year — has also spoken out against the president’s controversial executive order that temporarily bans citizens from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, saying the action “was vetted badly” and “makes us look stupid.”
“I called my assistant and said, ‘I think what we really should do is request a meeting and go back to New York. And then we just smash his face into the table,’ ” recalled the actor of the moments after Trump’s ratings jab. “And then I think we can’t do that either. I think I have to be above all of that and put him on the spot.’ ”
On Saturday, Trump, who still serves as a producer on the show, claimed that Schwarzenegger did not voluntarily leave the show and was “fired” by his “bad ratings.” He also hinted that the show was over.
“Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me,” Trump tweeted. “Sad end to great show.”
“You should think about hiring a new joke writer and a fact checker,” Schwarzenegger responded.