Remember when The Apprentice was just another reality television show and not... you know, the presidency?
Pepperidge Farm remembers––and there's some more drama surrounding the slice of television that just won't die.
Katherine Walker, a television producer who oversaw the first five seasons of President Donald Trump's former reality show, The Apprentice, says those who worked on the show often "struggled to make Trump seem coherent."
"We cleaned it up so that he was his best self," she said in an interview with The New Yorker.
"I'm sure Donald thinks that he was never edited."
Walker concedes that, for all the difficulties, Trump was a natural on camera who "gave us stuff to work with." She revealed that Trump actually improvised "You're fired," the tagline for which The Apprentice became famous.
"He wouldn't read a script––he stumbled over the words and got the enunciation all wrong."
"But off the cuff he delivered the kind of zesty banter that is the lifeblood of reality television."
Editor Jonathan Braun recalls that the staff worked to give Trump the appearance of a tycoon rather than a has-been who'd fallen significantly from his 1980s heyday.
"Most of us knew he was a fake," said Braun, who worked on the show for six series.
"He had just gone through I don't know how many bankruptcies. But we made him out to be the most important person in the world. It was like making the court jester the king."
That image certainly carried over to the 2016 presidential campaign, where Trump continued to craft an image of himself as an intelligent businessman, as a great dealmaker who would elevate the prospects of disillusioned Rust Belt residents (who ultimately catapulted him to his electoral win).
"I don't think any of us could have known what this would become," Walker said.
"But Donald would not be president had it not been for that show."
People had a lot of thoughts about the revelations.
A producer on "The Apprentice" said they struggled to make Trump sound coherent as he'd always stumble over his wor… https://t.co/leLzfKWmaN— Brian O'Sullivan (@Brian O'Sullivan)1546101004.0
The con job of “The Apprentice” — and how it helped a boorish, bankrupt, discredited, mobbed-up businessman become… https://t.co/yJUIbhyLCJ— David Beard (@David Beard)1545960442.0
@JaneMayerNYer Good article. Misses a crucial thing — apparent Trump is not in room with contestants when he fires… https://t.co/gNKYQmqm5w— Andy Pearlman (@Andy Pearlman)1545953184.0
Best quote in this fantastic piece comes from a former Apprentice producer who says of Trump's portrayal on the sho… https://t.co/ObtEuHXxjc— Chris Hayes (@Chris Hayes)1545951733.0
As I wrote about in my book; people in focus groups believed the image of Donald Trump created by Mark Burnett and… https://t.co/1zFtMi3O4P— Rick Wilson (@Rick Wilson)1545922496.0
@RobertMaguire_ You know what? The producers of The Apprentice have a lot to answer for. There's no way Trump woul… https://t.co/LXq9Mc8MYX— Lois Murray (@Lois Murray)1545924633.0
Anyone who watched the Apprentice & understand how the world works should’ve been horrified at thought of Trump bec… https://t.co/QCifhzEN18— John Ziegler (@John Ziegler)1545925733.0
Historian Kevin Kruse also weighed in, saying he'd made the same argument about Trump's success on The Apprentice in his upcoming book Fault Lines.
In light of that New Yorker piece on Trump and The Apprentice, I'm going to pass along this passage from FAULT LINE… https://t.co/jYikBe39Jf— Kevin M. Kruse (@Kevin M. Kruse)1545940449.0
Trump's time on The Apprentice has been dogged by controversy.
Earlier this year, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, Trump's former friend and White House employee who first made headlines as a contestant on The Apprentice, claimed Trump used racial slurs––particularly the "n-word"––during a 2012 taping of The Apprentice.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders came under fire after she could not guarantee that there don't exist any recordings of the president using such language. Manigault-Newman alleges her search for the tape got her fired from the White House.
As if to underscore suspicions that Trump was unqualified to play the leader of a boardroom on The Apprentice, let alone the leader of an entire nation, Manigault-Newman alleged White House staff regularly used the hashtag #TFA in private messages whenever the president, known for his thin skin and volatile temper, acted particularly unhinged.
The hashtag refers to the Twenty-Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, which would allow Vice President Mike Pence along with Trump's cabinet to initiate a process laid out in the Constitution by which they would attempt to remove the president from office due to being unfit.
Manigault-Newman told MSNBC's Alex Witt in September:
"We had a little hashtag, #TFA, which, now that I think about it, I'm a little embarrassed to tell you how often; when I went through my text chains from the White House, I saw the hashtag #tfa—25th Amendment."
"Whenever [Trump] did something that was just so insane and so crazy and unhinged, when he would flip positions from one hour to the next, we'd just hashtag at #tfa and we'd keep moving."
Omarosa says on MSNBC that staffers would text each other #tfa — meaning 25th Amendment — whenever President Trump… https://t.co/1UAFLDgOGW— Axios (@Axios)1536514681.0