President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter early Friday morning to share his thoughts on some of his favorite targets — the "dishonest" media, Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic Party. But he also added one new subject to his blacklist: the new host of Celebrity Apprentice, Arnold Schwarzenegger. These latest seemingly petty tweets aimed at protecting the president-elect's ego are leading many to ask, "What is Trump trying to distract from this time?"
In a two-part tweet, Trump highlighted that ratings for the former governor of California's season of the reality TV show didn't match up those of the last and first seasons of Celebrity Apprentice, which the president-elect himself hosted.
Trump's right that Schwarzenegger's show isn't bringing in the number of viewers that the original did. According to CNN Money, the latest Celebrity Apprentice season premiere on Monday brought in about 4.9 million viewers, a number that is well below the average 6.5 million who tuned in for the premiere of Celebrity Apprentice season 14 and the average 18.5 million who tuned in for the premiere of its first season.
Ignoring the fact that he is the executive producer of Celebrity Apprentice, Trump seemed to take glee in Schwarzenegger's apparent failure, writing, "So much for.... being a movie star," and then ironically adding, "But who cares."
Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got "swamped" (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT. So much for....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2017
being a movie star-and that was season 1 compared to season 14. Now compare him to my season 1. But who cares, he supported Kasich & Hillary— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2017
Apparently, Trump wasn't watching Thursday night when, in an interview with PBS NewsHour, Vice President Joe Biden advised the soon-to-be president, "Grow up, Donald. Grow up. Time to be an adult. You're president."
In fact, it's pretty likely that Trump missed the program. According to a Washington Post report from early December that analyzed his tweets from the beginning of his presidential campaign, most of Trump's TV-watching time is spent on Fox News. NBC, which airs Celebrity Apprentice, comes in fourth on that list, while PBS is all the way down at the 10th spot.
And similar to Trump's previous Hamilton Twitter rant, people are wondering if his latest trivial tweets have an evasive intent. Is he trying to draw attention away from today's intel briefing on Russian interference in the election? Or, despite his tweeted reassurance otherwise, is Trump trying to distract from CNN's recent report that American taxpayers will paying for the proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border?
Trump's tweeting about 'New Celebrity Apprentice' this morning to divert attention away from... pic.twitter.com/dX0rUa9BmE— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) January 6, 2017
Trump more excited about poorer ratings of the Apprentice with Arnold than when he was on the show. His concern should be hacking of the U.S— ronda oconnor (@rondalala) January 6, 2017
@realDonaldTrump You're meeting with intel today and tweeting about ratings on The Apprentice. Get out of our lives.— Jeffrey Guterman (@JeffreyGuterman) January 6, 2017
"Build that wall"— Josh Raybon (@joshraybon) January 6, 2017
"Um they're not paying?"
"We'll pay for now, then they'll pay us back"
"Have u seen the Apprentice Ratings?"
Just how calculated or not Trump's tweets are is up for debate. And no matter how he may or may not be trying to distract from the issues of the day, news outlets are well-equipped to report on both the president-elect's social media habits and the state of national security simultaneously.
Still, even though Trump's tweeting style hasn't changed from his days as a regular citizen to now, the public's interpretation of it has. And with good cause. With the former reality TV star about to take on the most important job in the country, everything he puts out there, even his pettiest tweets, calls for some level of deeper scrutiny.