Meghan McCain Says She Turned Down 'The Apprentice' Multiple Times — Even After Donald Trump Called Her Personally

"I was asked to be on The Apprentice several times and said no," The View co-host recalls

Here’s how to make sure Meghan McCain does not return your phone call: Ask her to be on your reality show — and be named Donald Trump.

During a recent interview with PEOPLE, TheView co-host mentioned off-hand how the president and former TV star once personally called her to try to recruit her for his NBC show.

“I was asked to be on The Apprentice several times and said no,” McCain recalls.

Once, she says, “He [Trump] left a voice message and I didn’t call back. I didn’t want to be an Apprentice. Like, the whole thing, I didn’t like all of it.”

It was several years ago, so she doesn’t remember all the details, but she says Trump had called her about appearing on the show sometime after 2009, when she was writing for The Daily Beast following her late father Sen. John McCain‘s 2008 presidential bid.

“I thought it was a dumb show,” Meghan, 35, says. “No offense.” She notes, almost wryly: “My dear close friend Clay Aiken came in second, so I shouldn’t talk too much s— about it.”

While The Apprentice launched in 2004 with aspiring entrepreneurs vying for a spot at Trump’s real estate company, it morphed in later years into a celebrity version. American Idol‘s Aiken competed, as did singer Trace Adkins, comedian Joan Rivers and others.

(A Trump Organization spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment about Meghan being asked to be on The Apprentice; the White House had no comment.)

Meghan McCain. Heidi Gutman/Getty Images

Meghan says the Apprentice pitch was not the only time Trump called her: He also reached out in the wake of one of his many criticisms of her father, who was a regular Trump detractor and famously voted against Trump’s push to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Trump has continued to attack Sen. McCain even after his death from brain cancer last year.

After one such dust-up, “He called to say that it was fake news,” according to Meghan.

“I listened and then said, ‘Goodbye.’ It was not terribly revelatory,” she says. “And then it took all of six weeks to say something nasty again.”

The president is open that he is “never a fan” of the late senator, even going so far as to question his military service in the Vietnam War.

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump. JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty

Meghan, in turn, hasn’t hesitated in defending her dad, speaking out about it often on The View.

Trump “spends his weekend obsessing over great men because he knows it and I know it and all of you know it: He will never be a great man,” Meghan said in an episode in March. “I genuinely feel bad for his family.”

Speaking with PEOPLE, Meghan says her parents wouldn’t have let her appear on The Apprentice anyways, back when Trump called to ask her. Personally, she’s “a giant consumer of all reality television.” But her on-camera time right now is enough.

“I don’t do reality TV. It’s a hard no,” she says.

“I don’t want a camera on me all the time, I’m plenty — one hour a day is just fine.”

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