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Raleigh News & Observer

Clay Aiken says President Trump reminds him of the ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ host

Clay Aiken says President Trump reminds him of the ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ host

BY COLIN CAMPBELL

ccampbell@newsobserver.com

RALEIGH 

 

Singer and former congressional candidate Clay Aiken says he sees similarities between the Donald Trump he got to know on “Celebrity Apprentice” and Trump’s style as president.

Aiken stopped by The News & Observer to be a guest on The N&O’s political podcast, Domecast, on Friday. He shared his thoughts on Trump and politics in Washington, D.C., and North Carolina. Aiken, who launched his musical career as a contestant on “American Idol,” ran unsuccessfully for Congress in North Carolina in 2014 as a Democrat.

He’s splitting his time between New York and North Carolina, working with several publications and occasionally doing private concerts. Asked if he’ll run for office again, Aiken says he’s “not running for anything. But I do leave the window open if I find a real reason to do it.”

Aiken compared Trump’s presidency to his role as “Celebrity Apprentice” host. Aiken, who was a contestant on the reality television show, said the billionaire didn’t decide which contestant got fired. Instead, he said, the show’s producers would tell Trump what to do using a teleprompter on his desk disguised as a phone.

“The man as president definitely has a teleprompter on his desk right now,” Aiken said. “I feel like half the time, his teleprompter has broken down as president and he doesn’t know what’s going on. ... He probably is leading the country in the same way that he did ‘Apprentice.’”

 

GettyImages-144926325

Arsenio Hall, Donald Trump and Clay Aiken attend the "Celebrity Apprentice" Live Finale at American Museum of Natural History on May 20, 2012 in New York City.
Brad Barket Getty Images file photo

Aiken says Trump likely didn’t think he would win last November. “The image that sticks with me more than anything was when he walked out on stage after he had won,” Aiken said. “I know him well enough to recognize that face as a ‘oh (expletive), I didn’t expect that I was going to win.’”

And while Aiken opposes many of Trump’s actions as president, he still respects him personally and says he’s a “nice guy.” When Aiken launched his campaign for Congress, he said Trump was the second person he called – after former N.C. Gov. Jim Hunt, his “political idol.”

He called Trump partly out of respect, he said, and “partially because I was worried he was going to go on Fox News that morning and say something, and I knew if he was one of the first people I called, he’d feel honored and he’d say wonderful things.”

Aiken said he’s opposed to the Republican health care bill, but he respects U.S. Sen. Richard Burr for his work leading the Senate’s Russia investigation. He’s critical of the approach many Democrats are taking to Trump.

“I think a lot of the rhetoric doesn’t help at all,” he said. “It doesn’t help change any moderate voters. You’re not going to change these voters’ minds by telling them they’re wrong.”

On the podcast, Aiken also weighed in on the latest North Carolina issues, including the legislature’s bill dealing with disposal of “garbage juice” and the new law that eases restrictions on Sunday morning sales of alcohol.

The Domecast is available and can be subscribed to on iTunes by clicking here. Users of other podcast apps can find the RSS feed link by clicking here.

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Occupy Democrats

Clay Aiken Just Exposed Pres. Trump’s Dirty Little Apprentice Secret

Clay Aiken Just Exposed Pres. Trump’s Dirty Little Apprentice Secret

BY NATALIE DICKINSON 

PUBLISHED ON JULY 11, 2017

In the wake of this morning’s shocking revelations about Donald Trump Jr.’s secret attempts to collude with the Russian Federation comes yet another Trump scandal.

While this one has no real consequences for the nation, it’s another stunning look into how the entire public persona of Donald Trump is nothing but an act.

Donald Trump became a household name in the United States for his role as the host of the Apprentice and for his trademark firing of unsatisfactory candidates – but a former contestant just revealed that Trump didn’t even get to decide who got fired.

Former American Idol finalist Clay Aiken spoke to the North Carolina News & Observer’s Domecast podcast and revealed that:

“Trump didn’t decide who got fired on ‘Apprentice,’ I mean, NBC made those decisions. There used to be a little thing right on his desk that looked like a phone — he pretended it was a phone — but it was actually a teleprompter where the producers were sending him notes.

He didn’t know that people were getting in fights during the week while we were doing these tasks, the producers did. And they’d send him notes and he’d say, ‘Oh you two didn’t get along. It was very much, ‘I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.

I’m not saying this to be incendiary. but Donald Trump isn’t the businessman that people believe he is because we saw him on TV playing the ‘Apprentice.'”

It’s pretty clear at this point that Donald Trump isn’t a businessman, he just plays one on TV. Trump hasn’t made a single “deal” as President that has actually accomplished anything beyond throwing our taxpayer dollars at corporations only for them to move jobs to Mexico anyway, and since taking office has still not shown any indication he’s capable of grasping basic economics, riding the strong economy that President Obama left him and claiming it as his own.

Aiken goes on to confirm as much, saying that Trump definitely has no idea what he’s doing:

“I think to myself, the man as president definitely has a teleprompter sitting on his desk right now with people telling him, ‘Well such and such is in the healthcare bill, don’t say this.’ I feel like half the time his teleprompter has broken down as president and he doesn’t know what’s going on.”

Aiken’s comments are disturbing because a significant portion of Trump’s supporters voted for him because they thought he was the businessman he appeared to be on TV.

Hoodwinked by a fantasy concocted by television producers, they now are enthralled by a similar fantasy of a competent president concocted by the producers at FOX News and by dangerous white supremacist ideologues like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller.

Just more evidence that Trump isn’t even qualified to run a television show, let alone our nation.

Listen to it here:

 

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Billboard Magazine

Musicians Who Got Political: The Rocky Road From The Stage to Public Office

Musicians Who Got Political: The Rocky Road From The Stage to Public Office

7/13/2017 by Liza Shcherbakova

 

Musicians and politicians have a lot in common - or so it seems. Both have to engage the public and often try to push for a cause or to deliver a message. Kanye West is promising his candidacy on the 2020 presidential ballot; Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is supposedly another choice for The Oval. They know how to engage large crowds at concert venues, so why not give it a shot? "How hard can it be?" was the slogan of a failed governor of Texas Richard S. Kinky Friedman, and the answer was clearly "Very!"

Kid Rock is the latest celebrity to contemplate a change of career. The musician's name was floated as a Senate Candidate at a Republican Convention in February and a new Kid Rock for Senate website went live on Wednesday (July 12). "Kid Rock for Senate" merch can even be found at his Warner Bros. Records page.

Perhaps a bid for The White House or The Senate is the latest version of a relationship hoax to promote new music and get your name out there in the media. If so, it seems to be working. A few decades ago it would seem unthinkable to have someone with no political experience holding prominent positions in the government, yet after the 2016 election anything seems possible... it's just very hard to pull off. 

Take a look at professional musicians who also performed on the political stage: 

1. Krist Novoselic, Nirvana. An honorary member of the "Grange Party" (you haven't heard of it, because there is no such party) ran for Wahkiakum County Clerk position in 2009. Why? To stand up to Washington's laws that allow anyone under any party to run for office. 

Did he win? Alas, no. 
Where is he now? Still a musician.

2. Wyclef Jean. In 2010, after hurricane relief charity work, Wyclef Jean decided to take his efforts one step further - to the President's office. It all came down to his eligibility as a Haiti resident. Speaking neither Creole, nor French did not help his case, even after all the work he put in to help hurricane-ravaged Haiti. 

Did he win? No, Haiti residents were too skeptical of his competence. 
Where is he now? A musician, and a writer

3. Sonny Bono. A rare successful example of a musician-turned-politician, Bono was mayor of Palm Springs for four years (1988-1992). Frustrated after trying to open a restaurant, Bono decided to make changes from the inside, from the Mayor's office. In 1994, he went even further and got elected to the US House of Representatives where he served until his death in 1998. 

Did he win? Yes and Yes. 
Where is he now? In our fond memories as both a musician and a politician. 

4. Martha Reeves. In 2005, she wanted to try herself in the Detroit City Council. Martha Reeves spoke on behalf of musicians for better wages and royalties in front of Congress in 2007. Losing the reelection two years later, the lead singer of Motown girl group Martha Reeves and the Vandellas turned back to music. She is now a full-time performer with more than 50 shows annually. 

Did she win? Yes. 
Where is she now? Performing and looking after her family, as she has three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

5. Richard S. Kinky Friedman. "How hard can it be?' was the slogan of the Texas Governor Candidate. Drawing less than 13% of the vote, he was sorely disappointed when it turned out to be very hard. Kinky was not deterred and might try running again in the future. 

Did he win? No. 
Where is he now? Writing music.

6. John Hall. From 2007 to 2011, he held a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives (from the Democratic party). Expressing his interest in legalizing recreational drug use was not enough to keep him in the House, as the 19th district of New York did not want him back in 2010.

Did he win? The first time, but lost the re-election.
Where is he now? Performing solo and with his group Orleans.

7. Jerry ButlerAs the longest-serving Board Commissioner for Cook County, Illinois, Jerry Butler is still better known as a soul singer and songwriter. He continued to perform while serving, and recently also served on the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. You may have heard of him as one of the original members of the R&B vocal group the Impressions

Did he win? Yes. 
Where is he now? Still there (ever since the 1980s). 

8. Jon Fishman. A member of the Phish musical group, Jon Fishman recently ran for a selectman position in Lincolnville, Maine. Crediting Bernie Sanders as his inspiration to try his hand in politics, he is now drumming up support for the issues familiar to any Bernie supporter. 

Did he win? Yes, he was elected to the city council of the small community in June 2017. 
Where is he now? On tour with Phish in between his meetings with the Council. 

9. Clay AikenA musician, politician, activist, actor, author, and television personality - Clay Aiken can seemingly do anything life throws at him. At only 38, the American Idol star is still exploring his career options. In 2014, he ran for Congress in North Carolina's 2nd congressional district and went as far as winning the Democratic Primary. 

Did he win? No, he was not an idol of choice for the voters. 
Where is he now? Performing and discussing his political opinions on TV. 

 

10. Waka Flocka Flame. A possible presidential candidate, the rapper promised to run for office in 2012 and indeed launched a campaign in 2015. He intended to legalize weed, ban dogs in restaurants and impose restrictions on people with big feet (we never got to find out how the last promise would have held up). Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were not impressed, and clearly the voters were not either.

Did he win? No.
Where is he now? Rapping and writing music.  

11. 2 Chainz. The rapper wanted to do "this little mayor thing" for his hometown of College Park, Georgia, back in 2013. 

Did he win? No, as he didn't end up running. 
Where is he now? Still in the rap industry. 

It also works the other way around:

Condoleezza Rice, The Secretary of State for George W. Bush, almost became a concert pianist. She even performed for Queen Elizabeth II at the Buckingham Palace. 

As for Kid Rock, keep your eyes on Twitter for further announcements and check out the "campaign site" to get a shirt that lets everyone around you know who you want in The Senate.

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variety.com

Politicon: Trump, Genius or Lunatic? Clay Aiken Says Neither, ‘He’s a Narcissist’

Politicon: Trump, Genius or Lunatic? Clay Aiken Says Neither, ‘He’s a Narcissist’

Senior Editor

Ted Johnson

Senior Editor

Politicon, taking place this weekend in Pasadena, has a penchant for panels with provocative titles, and one of those this year poses a question: Donald Trump: Genius or Lunatic?

It is not too surprising that with a panel on Saturday composed of both Trump supporters and detractors, there was really no consensus answer.

Instead, it seemed to raise other questions, topics, and conversations.

“I am not quite ready to call him a lunatic and I sure as hell am not calling him a genius. He’s a narcissist,” concluded Clay Aiken, the singer, “Celebrity Apprentice” runner-up, and former congressional candidate.

He recalled going to one of his rallies in Wilkes-Barres, Pa., last year in an arena that Aiken had once sold out when he performed with Kelly Clarkson.

“I knew in that moment that is why he was running, because I remember what that is like,” Aiken said. “I remember the energy of the people from that crowd when they are playing that video of you before you come out. It is something you don’t want to give up. Donald Trump ran for that attention. He is continuing to do his rallies for that attention.”

Actually, attention is the currency of Politicon, too. The New Republic earlier this week called it the “Perfect Media Racket for the Trump Era.” It’s heavy in talk radio personalities and media pundits, politically interested celebrities, and many people who have recently written books. Organizers have hopes of exceeding the 8,000 who attended last year, with an admission fee of $50 each day. As you can imagine, those who attend are interested in politics and have very strong points of view, whether they be pro- or anti-Trump (As a safety precaution, attendees do have to go through metal detectors).

One woman — wearing a red, white, and blue dress, no less — was the first up when the “Trump: Genius of Lunatic” panel was opened up for audience questions, and she insisted that Trump was “by far the most accomplished president in his first six months ever.”

“The left lunacy continues to focus on such ridiculous nonsense,” she said to cheers from the crowd.

Then, to the relief of moderator Sally Kohn, she got to her question: “When will you on the left stop acting like lunatics?”

One of the Trump detractors on the panel, Anthony Atamanuik, who plays Trump as the the creator and star of Comedy Central’s “The President Show,” tried to sound understanding. He told her, “What I have empathy for is the frustration of not being heard.”

Coming off a week in which Trump replaced his chief of staff and saw healthcare reform legislation skid in the Senate, among many other things, his supporters at Politicon seemed just as enthused as they were last year.

Robert Davi noted that Ronald Reagan got “the same ridicule, even within the party.” He said that Trump has shown that he has a “compassionate heart,” and he chalked up some of the turbulence of his first six months in office to Washington politics. He called it a “viper’s nest.”

Davi added, “They had seven years to go across the aisle and say to the Democrats, ‘How do we fix this for the American people?’

Scottie Nell Hughes, a CNN commentator, complained of the way that the media has covered Trump, instead of focusing on “what is really on the minds of the American people.”

When Kohn pressed her on Trump’s accomplishments, Hughes cited Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and Trump’s effort to get NATO countries to pay their fair share of defense, but she also said, “Folks, it is just six months, and he has to fight his own party as much as he has to fight the other side.”

And Hughes also defended Trump’s tweets, a constant source of media distraction, as a way to “send the American people a pathway they can trust.”

Aiken added that Trump craves the attention — positive or negative — and conceded he was a “wonderful entertainer.” But he turned to his experience on “The Apprentice” to try to deconstruct how Trump thinks.

On the set, Aiken said, Trump relied on cue cards.

“I always noticed that when he would get to a point on the cue card that he actually understood what was going on, he would repeat it. He’d double down on it. And when I watched him do these speeches at these rallies — which he why he ran — when he gets to the speech and repeats something, it is because he has gotten to the place in the script where he realizes, ‘Oh. I understand what I am saying.”

He added, “He took credit for firing people [on the show]. He didn’t know what happened during the day. I said a few times, he had a little TelePromoter in front of him on the table, and he’s running this country in the same way that he ran ‘Apprentice,’ which is producers are kind of telling him what is going on, and he is trying to make it look like he is getting something done.”

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vanguardnow.org

LGBT Conservatives, Progressives Find Common Ground at Politicon

LGBT Conservatives, Progressives Find Common Ground at Politicon

 

There was no name calling or chair throwing during this session.

At Politicon 2017, a panel comprised of LGBT conservatives and progressives signaled that in this era of Trump, the two sides may be more open than ever to working together.

“Everything in the media right now is conservative versus liberal, Republican versus Democrat. I hate that. It is so dumb,” said Alex Mohajer, co-founder of the progressive advocacy organization Bros4America.

“Why is everything being boxed into this dichotomy of false choice?” wondered Mohajer. “We can have common ground, we can build coalitions. We can unite on certain issues.”

“It’s sort of a time now where we have to look to each other, to stick together and build coalitions with one another to protect our rights and our interests,” he added.

Joining Mohajer on the spirited panel were singer-turned political activist Clay Aiken, Fox News contributor Guy Benson (pictured above with Aiken), the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Terra Russell Slavin, and Log Cabin Republicans of California - Los Angeles President Matthew Craffey.

More than 10,000 people attended this year’s Politicon at the Pasadena Convention Center. The annual bi-partisan event brings Republicans, Democrats, and people of all political stripes together, providing a unique platform for opposing ideologies to meet. The “LGBTQ in the 21st Century” panel, facilitated by Melissa Goodman of the ACLU of Southern California, was largely free of the fireworks that consumed other panels. It was the only LGBT-themed panel of the weekend-long conference.

“One actual sign of progress is that gay people and LGBTQ people don’t have to be single issue voters,” said Benson, an openly gay Republican and political editor of the conservative news organization Townhall.com. “We’re free to have open minds and our own set of priorities.”

Benson said Republicans are needed within the LGBT coalition, adding “It would be super helpful if some folks on the left stopped attacking us as self-loathing or mean-spirited. I promise you I’m not self-loathing. I promise you. My boyfriend will tell you the same thing.”

While he is asking for respect, Benson is also paying respect to progressives who fought so hard for LGBT equality.

“I would not have the freedom to think about one day proposing to my boyfriend or living a normal life as a gay man in America without the very hard work of lots of people who would never agree with my politics–gay rights activists on the left,” he said. 

“I have to thank them and be grateful for the hard work they’ve done. I want to pay homage to them and take my hat off to them and also say, ‘Now let’s have that toleration work in both directions.”

smTerra - Politicon[1].jpg

 Slavin (pictured above), the Center’s Deputy Director of Policy & Community Building, said “the issue isn’t that you’re a Republican so you must hate LGBT people. I don’t agree with that attitude.”

“I think the issue is that if you’re a Republican and you can’t call out actions that are Islamophobic or anti-LGBTQ, that’s a problem.”

Deep Concern Over Trump’s Actions

Slavin is deeply concerned with well-publicized things like President Donald Trump’s “dehumanizing” tweet last week announcing that he plans to ban transgender people from the US military.

She noted other alarming setbacks, including the actions of the Department of Education and the Department of Justice to rescind guidance that protects transgender students in schools and the US Department of Health and Human Services’ notice of its intent to rescind a non-discrimination rule in the Affordable Care Act that covers gender identity.

There’s also the US Department of Housing and Urban Development removing resources on its website designed to help housing providers comply with non-discrimination rules that protect LGBT people.

“I think this is just the start,” Slavin warned. 

Working With Trump Administration

Craffey of the Log Cabin Republican Club said this is why the oft-maligned LGBT conservatives are so important right now.

“I’m not telling anyone that they should support Trump or that they should like him or whatever,” he said. “I’m just saying it’s the administration that’s in power so you have to work sometimes with those that are in power. I’ve lost plenty of friends who have said, ‘The fact that you will even engage with the enemy is a reason I can’t respect you as an individual.’ That’s not where the dialogue should be.”

Aiken, the American Idol and The Celebrity Apprentice runner-up, admitted that while he is “bothered by Donald Trump and his lack of clarity,” he’s even more bothered by the prospect of Vice President Mike Pence ascending to the Oval Office.

“There’s a little piece of me that would rather Donald Trump stay president and get jack**** done for four years as he’s so successfully done for six months than have Mike Pence become president and get a lot done in four years.”

Published August 01, 2017

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washingtonjournal.com

Clay Aiken Just Broke The Internet With His Response To Trump’s Charlottesville Presser

Quote

Clay Aiken Just Broke The Internet With His Response To Trump’s Charlottesville Presser

BY BRIAN TYLER COHEN  

POLITICS | PUBLISHED ON AUGUST 15, 2017

On the heels of Trump’s unhinged, impromptu press conference in which he yet again failed to condemn the white supremacists and neo-Nazis at this weekend’s rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Clay Aiken, runner-up on season two of American Idol and a contestant on The Apprentice, tempered his past praise of the President.

Aiken has always been measured in his criticism of Trump. During the campaign, he said, “I kind of feel like we’d be better served to let people see what he’s going to do or not do.” He even admitted that his mother would be voting for Trump in the 2016 election.

“A lot of people who are supporting Trump are supporting him because he’s not a typical — he’s not a typical politician,” he said.

However, Aiken’s forceful tweet comes in response to Trump’s obvious pandering to the most extreme members of his base. When given the opportunity, Trump was not only reticent but decidedly incapable of denouncing the literal neo-Nazis marching in the streets of Charlottesville. Whereas politicians on both sides of the aisle were quick to condemn their deplorable acts of hate, Trump twisted himself into a pretzel to blame “both sides” for the rally that left one counterprotestor, Heather Heyer, 32, dead when a car plowed into her and a group of activists.

The fact that Clay Aiken, who was one of the few celebrities with a more moderate and understanding stance towards the President, issued such a stern condemnation of Trump today is evidence enough that Trump’s abhorrent behavior and racist views are finally catching up with him.

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newsobserver.com

Clay Aiken: Trump is racist, ‘I was a f---ing dumb---’ for defending him

Clay Aiken: Trump is racist, ‘I was a f---ing dumb---’ for defending him

BY ABBIE BENNETT

AUGUST 15, 2017 9:33 PM

Singer and former congressional candidate Clay Aiken said on Twitter Tuesday that he felt dumb for defending the president.

Aiken said that he was “a f---ing dumb---” for defending President Donald Trump and believing Trump is “not actually racist.”

“I’ve always thought he would be a dumpster fire as a president, and I was right about that,” Aiken continued in another tweet. “I just didn’t think he was racist. #wrong”

Last month, Aiken said he saw similarities between the Donald Trump he got to know on “Celebrity Apprentice” and Trump’s style as president during a visit to The News & Observer to be a guest on The N&O’s political podcast, Domecast. Aiken, who launched his musical career as a contestant on “American Idol,” ran unsuccessfully for Congress in North Carolina in 2014 as a Democrat.

 

At that time, while Aiken said opposed many of Trump’s actions as president, he still respected him personally and said he’s a “nice guy.” When Aiken launched his campaign for Congress, he said Trump was the second person he called – after former N.C. Gov. Jim Hunt, his “political idol.”

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