By People Staff
Updated September 20, 2004 04:00 PM

After being called “stupid” by Donald Trump, you’d think Bradford Cohen would be bitter about his controversial dismissal from last Thursday’s episode of The Apprentice. Not so. In fact, the 33-year-old attorney from Ft. Lauderdale tells PEOPLE he’s still proud of his decision to waive his exemption from getting fired. Though, he does admit, “I misjudged (Trump’s) reaction.”

Why did you risk being fired by giving up the "exemption" you earned by leading Apex to victory in Week One’s task?
I thought that by waiving my exemption, I would show (the rest of the team) that I’m a leader who will go to battle for my troops. I wanted to earn their respect so I could push the team to win even when I’m not in command. Obviously, Mr. Trump didn’t understand where I was going with it. I misjudged his reaction to what I did. I didn’t think it was going to be the kind of life-and-death situation that he made it into. I thought he would respect someone stepping up to the plate.

Did you have second thoughts after Trump accepted your offer?
I probably could have backed down and run for cover and said, “I didn’t mean (it). I’d like my exemption back.” And he might have given it to me, but I’m not that type of person. Once I lay it out there, I lay it out there.

What was going through your mind when you went back to the boardroom to hear his decision?
I knew I was going to be fired after he said I’d made a monumentally stupid mistake. I knew my duck was cooked.

Do you think it was fair of him to fire you?
Nobody ever said life is fair. It’s his playground. If he wants to take away the basketball, he’s going to take away the basketball.

Does it change your opinion of him?
Not at all. I actually respect him more.

Do you have any problem with the way you were depicted?
It is what it is. It’s TV. I knew what I signed up for. I’m not always a bullheaded jackass, but I can be bullheaded.

Stacie J. has become something of a lightning rod. Were you surprised the other women disliked her so much?
The women on the show this season can be vicious. As Wes said, they would eat their young.

Is she this season’s Omarosa?
There will never be another Omarosa.

What advice would you give to other candidates who find themselves with an exemption?
If you’re going to be on a different page than someone, make sure it’s not someone who can can you.