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Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
# look over there
On same day he's due to face spy chiefs over Russian hacking, Trump has pop at Arnold Schwarzenegger
And Arnie had a suitably withering response for the president elect’s barb about the actor’s ratings for his Apprentice TV show.

GOP 2016 Debate Mark J. Terrill Donald Trump and Arnold Schwarzenegger, pictured in California in September 2015 Mark J. Terrill

TODAY, PRESIDENT ELECT of the United States Donald Trump is due to face US spy chiefs in order to receive a briefing on alleged Russian hacking of the US election – allegations Trump has branded a “political witch hunt”.

US intelligence believes that the Kremlin directly interfered in the run-up to November’s election by hacking into the servers of Trump’s Democratic rivals.

However, in advance of the briefing there is little sign the incoming Republican leader is ready to drop his skepticism.

Just hours before the politically-charged classified briefing, the brash billionaire gave a telephone interview with the New York Times alleging an attempt to undermine him.

“This is a political witch hunt,” he told the paper, noting that his outgoing predecessor President Barack Obama had presided over several cyber-security failures.

Trump has consistently mocked or cast doubt on reports backed by leaked evidence from secret investigations that Vladimir Putin personally sought to sway the election in his favor over rival Hillary Clinton.

And, in a move that may be more than a little familiar, Trump took time out from dealing with a weighty political issue this afternoon to start a Twitter spat with a celebrity.

Since emerging victorious in the election, Trump has repeatedly entered into altercations on Twitter at opportune times, with the suggestion doing so is a means of distracting the media from more politically damaging headlines (one example being his tweeting about the musical Hamilton at the same time he settled a lawsuit against Trump University for $25 million).

As Trump readies to move into the Oval Office, actor (and former California governor) Arnold Schwarzenegger has stepped into his old shoes – as host of the reality show Celebrity Apprentice – and the president-elect earlier declared himself unimpressed with the results.

In a pair of early morning tweets he ripped into the Terminator actor, mocking the viewer figures for the season premiere this week – and calling himself a “ratings machine” by comparison.

“Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got ‘swamped’ (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT. So much for being a movie star – and that was season 1 compared to season 14. Now compare him to my season 1. But who cares, he supported Kasich & Hillary,” he tweeted.

Schwarzenegger was among the Republican figures who refused to back Trump’s inflammatory bid for the presidency – although he stopped short of endorsing the Democratic ticket of Hillary Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine.

The actor (69) wasn’t having any of it however. He duly responded:

“I wish you the best of luck and I hope you’ll work for ALL of the American people as aggressively as you worked for your ratings.”

After hosting 14 seasons of The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice, Trump is staying on as executive producer of the show after he is sworn in as president on January 20.

Schwarzenegger took his first steps on the eighth season of The New Celebrity Apprentice last Monday.

The premiere – in which stars including boxer Laila Ali and singer Boy George completed business-related challenges judged by Schwarzenegger – drew 4.9 million viewers, against 6.5 million for the first episode of Trump’s final season, two years ago.

The Austrian native rolled out a new catchphrase: “You’re Terminated!” – a riff on Trump’s trademark put-down, “You’re Fired”.

The Austrian-born Hollywood star – who became a US citizen more than three decades ago – leveraged his popularity into a career in politics, serving as governor of California from 2003 to 2011.

with © – AFP, 2017

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