OPINION: Donald Trump Was Neither Sexist nor Lewd on The Apprentice
Editor’s note: This column is a guest post from Rittenhouse Square resident Erin Elmore, who was a contestant on the third season of The Apprentice and is now a campaign surrogate for Donald Trump. She writes in response to an Associated Press investigation, published Monday, in which other Apprentice contestants and crew members allege that Trump was sexist and lewd on the set.
I never thought that hearing the words “you’re fired” on one of television’s most-watched shows would have led to a career in the Republican Party a decade later, but there you have it. Donald Trump has consistently been a driving force behind my professional development since 2004, when I arrived at Trump Tower and cameras started rolling.
Leaving friends, family, career and normalcy behind to appear on a larger-than-life reality show was a big adjustment. Workdays were grueling and frequently 18 hours long. The environment was intensely competitive, and I was interacting closely with some of the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet and learning from the best and brightest at Fortune 500 companies and, of course, from Donald Trump himself.
During my two months as a contestant on the Apprentice, each day was extremely busy and scheduled down to the minute. We were never alone — ever. We never got a break from filming and were surrounded at all times by camera operators, sound technicians, and producers. We saw Mr. Trump only when he came to visit our tasks to check our progress, then again in the boardroom and again if we won a task at the reward/victory party. We were never alone with Mr. Trump. We were always wearing audio microphones and being recorded on video. Granted, during these times we spent a great deal of time with Mr. Trump, but it was in a heavily monitored, small-group setting.
After my season aired, I stayed in close touch with Mr. Trump, often emailing him for advice. He made business introductions, wrote letters of recommendation, and set up meetings for me. Ultimately, he helped me land a job in television and a journalism career, and now he’s allowed me to become a part of his campaign.
As a on-air spokesperson for the campaign, I talk to people like Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, and Bill O’Reilly. And when the Republican National Convention went to Cleveland, I became deputy press secretary and got to meet Bob Dole, inspiring war veterans, and true American heroes.
All of this was made possible by one man: Donald Trump. He did this for me because he saw me as smart, tenacious, successful and motivated. Never once did my looks come up in conversation. Never once did my physique become part of the equation. In fact, through all the time that I have known him, I have never seen him treat anyone like that. So, when I wake up to an article that attempts to shame Donald Trump, his campaign, and the Apprentice with allegations such as these, it saddens me deeply.
Post-Apprentice, I kept in touch with several candidates and producers. Across the board, they feel that the Apprentice enriched their lives and that Donald Trump has been a champion in their corner. Those who claim negative things about Mr. Trump probably don’t like the person who they saw on camera. As I have said since day one of filming: If the words don’t come out of your mouth, they can’t show it on TV.
It’s disappointing to see a handful of fame-hungry, disgruntled former employees spewing lies for personal gain. I spend days and sometimes weeks away from my family working to get Donald Trump elected president, because we need a change in Washington. Taxes are too high, people need good jobs, and we need someone to keep this country safe. My job is to share his message and tell his story — the true story. Donald Trump is not a sexist. He is, in short, a great boss, and one I respect.