The Trump Files: When Donald Got in a Fight With Martha Stewart

Mother Jones Illustration/Shuttershock

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

This post was originally published as part of “The Trump Files“—a collection of telling episodes, strange but true stories, and curious scenes from the life of our current president—on August 19, 2016.

Donald Trump wasn’t the only celebrity with a show called The Apprentice. In fall 2005, media mogul Martha Stewart had a short-lived spin-off of the TV series. When Stewart’s show failed to be renewed for a second season because of low ratings, she blamed Trump for keeping his show on the air and taking away viewers from her version. Trump didn’t take too kindly to the comment, and in typical fashion, the billionaire fought back.

In an open letter, he called her performance “terrible,” said the show “lacked mood, temperament, and just about everything else a show needs for success,” and decried her “totally unconvincing demeanor.”

Stewart, in shock, responded to her “longtime friend,” calling his comments “mean-spirited and reckless.”

But Trump didn’t stop there. In an interview with Newsweek, he said, “What moron would think you’re going to fire the guy with the No. 1 show on television?” according to the New York Daily News.

Trump tried to calm things on Larry King Live the following month, saying, “I love her. She’s a wonderful woman. I wish her well.” But it doesn’t seem like Stewart was placated. Last fall, in an appearance on the late-night show Watch What Happens Live, Stewart resurrected her 10-year-old accusation against the current Republican presidential nominee.

“I was supposed to fire him on air,” she said. Stewart later added, “And then Donald liked it too much. And look at, you know, it’s fantastic for him. It’s built him a platform. So now he thinks he can be president.”

 

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate