Donald Trump once pitched O.J. Simpson as a likely ratings-grabbing contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice” in 2008, but the bold idea was quickly rebuffed by network executives.
“NBC representatives have never considered O.J. Simpson for the next season of ‘The Apprentice,’ nor will,” an April 2008 statement from the network read.
But according to clips unearthed and posted on SoundCloud by CNN Wednesday, Trump continued to praise the idea in television and radio interviews after NBC balked — even though he acknowledged he believed that Simpson “killed his wife.”
Simpson was acquitted of charges that he killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman in Los Angeles in 1995. He later lost a wrongful death suit filed by the victims’ families in civil court.
“NBC went totally crazy when I wanted to put O.J. on The Apprentice,” Trump reportedly said during a July 2008 interview on the Howard Stern show.
“You were friends with O.J.,” Stern asked. “So how did you come in contact with O.J.?”
“I was friendly with O.J.,” Trump replied, noting he played golf with the disgraced football star.
“I must tell you,” he later added, “I really abandoned O.J. I was extremely disloyal, when I realized he killed his wife.”
“Why would you put him on the Apprentice?” Stern asked.
“Well you know, in your business, there’s a thing called ratings,” Trump chuckles. “And, you know you can come up with a cure for cancer — I found out a lot about your business — because, hey, I’m the biggest star. I’m now the biggest star…So I know that if you come up with a cure for cancer, and if you put it on…if it doesn’t get ratings, they will not broadcast it.”
Trump said he couldn’t “go into the details” but added that Simpson “would have done it.” He wouldn’t answer when Stern asked if he spoke to Simpson about the proposal directly.
“I hadn’t spoken to him in years, I don’t like people that kill their wives,” he said.”Does that make sense? Does that make me a disloyal person?”
Trump was a little less grandiose about the plan during a May 2008 appearance on Extra, according to the CNN report.
“Let’s say that NBC, when I mentioned O.J. Simpson, had a heart attack,” Trump reportedly said. “They weren’t thrilled. I’m not saying I would have cast him, either, but it was certainly somebody that would be interesting.”
Trump is also heard joking about Brown’s murder with Stern in a 2004 interview.
“I’m sitting having dinner and O.J. came up to me — I was with very important people, big bankers, nobody that you know, big, big bankers, and we were sitting there, there were six of us, and O.J. came up,” Trump said. “And he was talking to us for about three minutes, and Nicole, was with her mother I think, and she came over, and she started screaming at him, ‘get over to the table, what the hell are you—’ she was rough, okay? In all fairness.”
“So, he decided obviously to kill her,” Trump said, to laughter.
“It might have been right at the [restaurant] that he decided it,” Stern responds.
“She was very tough,” Trump persisted. “She came over and she really embarrassed him, she was screaming at him ‘get over here!’ She didn’t care. And that was before ‘The Apprentice’ so she didn’t give a damn about me. Now she’d be kissing my ass. Now I’m the biggest star on television, she’ll kiss my ass.”
Past words have been haunting the Republican presidential candidate this month: a number of Republicans withdrew their support for the candidate after a hot mic caught him bragging about sexually assaulting womenin 2005.
His polls also suffered, with one NBC/Wall Street Journal poll putting Clinton ahead by 14 points in a two-person race, the largest divide between the two candidates for the entire election season.