Over the past year, the Celebrity Apprentice alum has had no problem speaking critically about his former reality boss’ new role in politics. Did Trump call the shots on-set back in the day, according to Aiken? No. Is he fit to lead? Also no. But for some reason, when it came to race, Aiken apparently held out hope that the president had a different set of values.
Last month, Aiken told Raleigh’s News & Observer that he “saw similarities between the Donald Trump he got to know on Celebrity Apprentice and Trump’s style as president.” While Aiken said he “opposed many of Trump’s actions,” he still respected him personally, and said he’s a “nice guy.” In the past, Aiken also ran unsuccessfully for Congress in North Carolina as a Democrat. When he launched his campaign in 2014, he said Trump was the second person he called (after former N.C. Gov. Jim Hunt, his “political idol”).
Now, after Trump’s hotly-contested claim that “both sides” were at fault for the violence in Charlottesville over the weekend, Aiken took to Twitter Tuesday night to revoke any remaining affiliation with the commander in chief. In a tweet, Aiken apologized for his misstep in not denouncing the president’s actions all these months, and describes him as “actually racist.”
“Remember all those times I defended @realDonaldTrump and believed he was not actually racist? Well… I am a f*****g dumbass. #imsorry,” he said.
A few minutes later, he sent a follow-up to clarify that he was never under the impression Trump would be a good president, he just mistakenly assumed he wouldn’t cater to white supremacists while in office.
“[To be clear,] I’ve always thought he would be a dumpster fire of a president, and I was right about that. I just didn’t think he was racist. #wrong”
Is this the particular apology America was waiting for? Not quite. But it does set a good precedent for other celebrities to follow if they feel so inclined.