Conway: It’s Cool for Trump to Be Apprentice Executive Producer Because Obama Golfed

“Presidents have a right to do things in their spare time, in their leisure time.”


On Wednesday afternoon, Variety published a scoop: President-elect Donald Trump will stay on as executive producer of Celebrity Apprentice on NBC, the hit franchise he created with reality TV mogul Mark Burnett from MGM. The show returns to air on January 2—hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Trumps spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed the president-elect “has a big stake in the show.” Trump won’t be involved in actually producing the show, but his fee per episode is likely to be in the low five figures, according to Variety. According to the Hollywood Reporter, this fee will be paid by MGM Television, the studio responsible for the production—not by NBC.

All this is raising concerns about potential conflicts of interest. As the Huffington Post explained:

Trump’s role is rife with potential entanglements. While his paycheck will come from MGM, the program airs on NBC, a major broadcast network with an influential news division (which employs reporters Trump has personally attacked). It’s also the same network that airs Saturday Night Live, a show Trump has criticized on numerous occasions for its unflattering depiction of him. And NBC is owned by Comcast, a corporation that was recently slapped with a hefty fine by the Federal Communications Commission—an entity that will soon be under Trump’s control. 

Today, Trump adviser and former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway appeared on CNN’s New Day to defend the decision. According to Conway, whatever Trump does in his “spare time” is up to him, much in the way that Obama liked to play golf. “Were we so concerned about the hours and hours and hours spent on the golf course of the current president?” Conway said. “I mean presidents have a right to do things in their spare time, in their leisure time.” Watch the entire exchange above.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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