'Apprentice' alums denounce Donald Trump

Former 'Apprentice' contestants slam Trump
Former 'Apprentice' contestants slam Trump

With Donald Trump inching closer to the White House, contestants from his show "The Apprentice" are choosing sides.

A media-savvy group of six former contestants held a press conference on Friday to tell Trump "you're fired!"

One of the speakers, season one runner-up Kwame Jackson, said Trump does not have the right "temperament" to be president and accused the GOP frontrunner of appealing "to the lowest common denominator of fear, racism and divisiveness in our populace."

"Let us choose Kennedy over Kardashianism," Jackson said.

But other stars from the reality TV show, like Piers Morgan and Omarosa Manigault, have been more supportive of the businessman's candidacy.

In a statement, Trump called the former contestants "six failing wannabes out of hundreds of contestants."

"How quickly they forget. Nobody would know who they are if it weren't for me," he said, adding, "They just want to get back into the limelight like they had when they were with Trump. Total dishonesty and disloyalty."

Friday's press conference was led by Season 4 winner Randal Pinkett, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump's campaign since last summer.

"We acknowledge Donald's success as a businessman, and genuinely appreciate the opportunity 'The Apprentice' afforded all of us," Pinkett said in a statement. "We, however, strongly condemn Donald's campaign of sexism, xenophobia, racism, violence and hate."

Trump hosted "The Apprentice" and its celebrity spin-off edition from 2004 through early 2015. Nowadays, on the campaign trail, he is fond of citing his experience on the show and its success in the ratings.

He sometimes reprises his tag line -- "you're fired" -- to great effect at rallies.

The television hosting skills that Trump honed through "The Apprentice" have also come in handy during the campaign.

But perhaps there's a downside to his decade plus on the NBC show -- the former contestants who detest him.

Along with Pinkett, the other attendees at Friday's press event were Kevin Allen, Tara Dowdell, Marshawn Evans Daniels, James Sun and Kwame Jackson.

Trump is "stoking the flames of our worst demons," Jackson, the season one runner-up, said in a statement ahead of Friday's event.

Morgan, on the other hand, has been a welcome friend to Trump.

Morgan won the first season of "The Celebrity Apprentice." While he has occasionally critiqued Trump's controversial positions, but he has also defended Trump many times.

This week he tweeted that "lots of people" are writing off Trump, but "I still believe he'll win GOP nomination & the general election."

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Morgan won the first season of "The Apprentice."

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