Arnold Schwarzenegger on Trump: 'He's in Love With Me … He Wants to Be Me.'

Arnold Schwarzenegger has been a Republican for just about as long as he’s lived in America. At the 2004 Republican National Convention, he told a story about watching Richard Nixon in 1968, and asking a friend: What party is he? When he learned Nixon was a Republican, Schwarzenegger responded: “Then I am a Republican.”

These days, though, it’s no secret that he doesn’t exactly see eye-to-eye with the current highest-ranking Republican in the country, President Donald Trump. The pair have sparred back and forth on a number of topics—from Trump’s policies to Schwarzenegger’s low-rated stint as Trump’s replacement on Celebrity Apprentice—for the majority of Trump’s time in the political spotlight.

In the October cover story of Men’s Health, Schwarzenegger takes a guess at why the 45th president won’t drop the feud. “I think he really—he’s in love with me,” he says. “That’s the reality of it. With Trump, he wants to be me.”

Schwarzenegger also reminisced about a time in the past, pre-feud, when the pair watched wrestling together:

The relationship between the two hasn’t always been frayed. When Schwarzenegger first took over as the host of Celebrity Apprentice, Trump wished him well. According to Politico, back in 2004—a year after he was elected Governor of California—Schwarzenegger switched his hotel to one owned by Trump (at Trump’s request) during the Republican National Convention. A couple of years later, in 2007, Schwarzenegger appeared on an episode of The Apprentice, where the future-president and then-reality host called Arnold a “great friend.” He donated $10,000 to Schwarzenegger’s campaign later that year.

In 2013, both Trump and Schwarzenegger posted glowingly on social media about running into one another at a WWE Hall of Fame event:

Never know who you’ll run into at the @WWE #HallofFame @realDonaldTrump @TripleH. Honored to induct @SammartinoBruno. http://t.co/Vy3to30TqQ

It was great seeing @Schwarzenegger at the #WWEHOF. http://t.co/H9WCzThC4a

View this post on Instagram

It was great seeing @Schwarzenegger at the #WWEHOF.

A post shared by President Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on

At least publicly, the relationship between the two began to take a downward turn a couple of years later. Schwarzenegger was announced as Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice replacement in late 2015, and Trump was initially supportive of the choice. By 2016, though, Schwarzenegger revealed that while he still considered himself a Republican, he had decided to vote for Ohio Governor John Kasich in the primaries rather than Trump.

By the time Trump had officially become the Republican nominee, Schwarzenegger announced publicly that he wouldn’t vote for him.

As proud as I am to label myself a Republican, there is one label that I hold above all else – American. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/biRvY8S3aZ

When Schwarzenegger’s Celebrity Apprentice season began airing in early 2017, Trump, then the President-elect, began to blast the Terminator actor’s run and poor ratings.

Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got “swamped” (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT. So much for….

Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger did a really bad job as Governor of California and even worse on the Apprentice…but at least he tried hard!

When it was announced that Arnold’s Celebrity Apprentice would not be returning, Trump again blasted the former governor.

Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show

Schwarzenegger has hit back at Trump as well, mostly with regard to opposing certain policy positions:

I know the 80s were great for both of us, @realDonaldTrump. But when it comes to energy, our country needs to look forward, not backward. Let’s focus on saving the miners, not the coal industry. pic.twitter.com/ISdbGUHm2K

President @realDonaldTrump, we need to talk about your decision to cut after-school programs from the budget. pic.twitter.com/KdQAoZ0Fvm

There was also an odd moment earlier this year, when Trump said that Schwarzenegger had “died” and that he “was there.” He was most likely talking flippantly about something related to Celebrity Apprentice, but the timing was random. Schwarzenegger caught wind of this, and responded on his Twitter account: “I’m still here. Want to compare tax returns @realDonaldTrump?” he wrote.

I’m still here. Want to compare tax returns, @realDonaldTrump? https://t.co/lMQHsE1bQK

The pair has now sparred on and off for upwards of three years, and as we get closer and closer to the 2020 election, there appear to be no signs of slowing down.

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