Trump again threatening to run for president, which would end The Apprentice

The Apprentice star Donald Trump is moderating a Dec. 27 debate between some Republican candidates for president–Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman have opted to not participate–but says he may face off against the eventual nominee if he doesn’t like who that is.

Trump said he did not run last time because the sacrifice was too much. “Other people don’t give up anything when they run. You give up a top, prime-time television show and I don’t want to sound trivial but that’s a lot,” he told USA TODAY.

But he’s suddenly decided he might do just that! “If they pick somebody who I think can’t win and if they pick somebody who is, in my opinion, the wrong person … and if the economy continues to be bad, I might run as an independent.” When will he make that decision? After the finale of The Celebrity Apprentice, of course! “You don’t need a lot (of time) in the age of television, of computers … to be honest and, you know, most people know where I stand anyway. I’m a free agent right after the (season ends), which is May 15.”

This directly mirrors what he did last year, when he threatened to run for president, damaging the show in the process, and said an announcement would come during the finale, which didn’t actually happen, because of course NBC wouldn’t allow that. But it seems like we’re in for another season of Trump not just presiding over one of the best reality competitions on TV, but running his mouth to alienate viewers even as he tries desperately to get them to watch.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.