Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump veered off script at the start of the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday when he asked a room full of lawmakers, foreign dignitaries and religious leaders to pray for Arnold Schwarzenegger so that ratings of his show — NBC’s “The Apprentice” — would go up.
Trump, who lauded the six-decade long traditional gathering as a “testament to the power of faith” was introduced by Mark Burnett, the television producer who teamed up with Trump to create “The Apprentice.” The hit show arguably launched Trump’s political ambitions.
Trump left the show, however, in 2015 as he explored a presidential run and Burnett replaced him with Schwarzenegger, the movie star and former California governor.
Trump trashes Arnold Schwarzenegger for ‘Apprentice’ ratings
“We know how that turned out,” Trump said, knocking Schwarzenegger. “The ratings went right down the tubes. It has been a disaster.”
Trump then turned to the audience and said: “I want to just pray for Arnold … for those ratings.”
The comment may have been intended as a joke, but Trump’s opening came in sharp contrast to how past presidents have addressed the breakfast.
Schwarzenegger promptly replied via a Twitter video: “Hey Donald. I have a great idea. Why don’t we switch jobs? You take over TV, cause you’re such an expert in ratings. And I take over your job, so that people can finally sleep comfortably again.”