Former contenders of NBC’s “The Apprentice” held a press conference in New York on Friday to denounce Donald Trump and his presidential run.
“[Donald Trump] is unqualified to be president of the United States,” season four “Apprentice” winner Randall Pinkett said. “He’s dangerous to the country and the world.”
Pinkett was joined by five other former contenders of the reality show: season-one runner-up Kwame Jackson and season-three contender Tara Dowdell in New York, with season-four contender Marshawn Evans and season-six runner-up James Sun via Skype.
The conference leaned heavily on the group’s belief that Trump’s statements while campaigning have contained racist and xenophobic overtones.
“We need a candidate who already sees great in America and wants to make it greater,” Pinkett said, playing off Trump’s own campaign slogan, “someone who sees our diversity as an asset and not a liability.”
While all the participants said they have spoken out against Trump individually, they were compelled to come together because of the importance of New York’s upcoming primary and the fact that they shot “Apprentice” in the city. They also wanted to combat other “Apprentice” colleagues, such as Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, who have supported Trump publicly.
“We’ve had a lens into the man besides what you see on the cameras,” Pinkett said of what makes them qualified to speak on Trump.
Jackson said that he first became turned off by Trump after the real-estate mogul fuelled the birther campaign against Barack Obama. He says that his recent statements, such as those surrounding immigrants and Muslim groups, show that there are “very nuanced forms of being a racist in 2016.”
He admitted to not taking Trump’s presidential run seriously. “I didn’t expect Donald to make it this far,” he said. “I wrote him off last year. Obviously, I was proven wrong.”
When asked what they thought about Trump’s business success, Pinkett answered, “I was impressed with his business acumen, his abilities in real estate.” But he said that when he worked with various Trump companies, including entertainment and resorts, he saw “no minority representation in executive positions. That to me is bad business.”
Jackson added, “Being rich doesn’t make you right. America is often beguiled by a rich person.”
Dowdell credited Trump’s marketing prowess for the success of his campaign.
“He saw an anger in this country that was specifically related to the demographics of this country and he’s capitalising on it,” she said.
When asked why there were no white former “Apprentice” contenders present at the press conference, Pinkett attributed it to scheduling issues, but felt it was fair to say that “most” of the white people he contacted feared that coming out publicly against Trump would negatively impact their careers or personal lives.
Earlier this week, after the press conference was announced, Trump released the following statement:
“How quickly they forget. Nobody would know who they are if it weren’t for me. They just want to get back into the limelight like they had when they were with Trump. Total dishonesty and disloyalty. They should be careful or I’ll play hours of footage of them individually praising me. Ask how successful they have been since they left. Six failing wannabes out of hundreds of contestants — so sad! I gave Randall Pinkett the opportunity of a lifetime by selecting him as the apprentice. He worked for me and did a terrible job.”