With Donald Trump as the presumptive GOP nominee for president, it's worth looking at Trump's relationships in Hollywood and his own history as a member of the entertainment business. Until last year he was the host and an executive producer on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice." The role of host on that show has now been taken over by Arnold Schwarzenegger — but the connection between the two men does not end there.
Senior editor for Variety, Ted Johnson, tells The Frame that Trump is tapping Schwarzenegger's campaign playbook from when he ran for governor of California.
He's really drawn from the celebrity character that he created on "The Apprentice" and has used that within his campaign in the same way that Arnold Schwarzenegger approached his campaign as "The Terminator." He loved using those lines. he loved capitalizing on that aspect of his career.
Johnson draws a distinction with how former SNL cast member and comedian, now Minnesota Senator Al Franken went about making his leap from entertainment to politics.
When he first ran in 2008, he went out of his way to distance himself actually from his comedy career. He was not funny on the campaign trail. He tried to really prove that he was a serious politician. So I think it's just two different ways right there of how a celebrity actually approaches politics when they actually get into an elected race.
While a bit of Hollywood showmanship may live on in Trump the candidate, it's unclear how much Hollywood money will come out to support his bid for the White House — but that won't keep him from trying. On May 25, Colony Capital CEO Thomas Barrack will host Trump’s first fundraising push in Los Angeles. This comes after naming Steven Mnuchin, chairman and CEO of Dune Capital Management and a major co-financier of Warner Brothers movies, as his national finance chairman.
Johnson doesn’t deny that Trump will likely have some big name supporters in the entertainment business, but his endorsements so far have been more the standard outspoken conservative celebrities — namely Ted Nugent, Jon Voight and "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robinson.
“Even though we haven't seen unexpected celebrities come out in favor of Donald Trump, I wouldn't rule it out that a disaffected Democrat will end up supporting him," Johnson said.
As for Schwarzenegger, he endorsed John Kasich for president, but since the Ohio governor dropped out of the race, Schwarzenegger hasn't made any new endorsements or comments about supporting Trump. Johnson believes that the former California governor may be adopting a wait-and-see attitude. At this point, he's probably gearing up for his debut as the host of season eight of "Celebrity Apprentice," which NBC is billing in as "The New Celebrity Apprentice."