If Donald Trump is America’s first reality TV president, Tom Arnold is fighting fire with fire. He’s created a new Viceland show The Hunt For the Trump Tapes. He will be broadcasting his search for incriminating evidence on Trump.
Viceland presented a panel on The Hunt for The Trump Tapes, in which Arnold went off on very stream of consciousness rants about Trump and those associated with him. A major topic was The Apprentice producer Mark Burnett.
“I love Mark Burnett, by the way, his buddy that sits at the prayer breakfast with him that has The Apprentice, that created this bullshit, this guy that’s fake,” Arnold began. “The people in Iowa where I’m from think, ‘Oh that’s the genius businessman from TV.’ I’d like him to stand up and say, ‘You know, actually, we had to cut out all the lies and the sexual harassment and the insanity and the incompetence. He’s not really that guy. We cut that out. The real guy is this other guy.’”
Arnold is putting pressure on Burnett to release Trump tapes from The Apprentice.
“I’m in this position where I make a call to Mark Burnett,” Arnold continued. “First is before I go down to his place myself, his place of business where Mark Burnett does have a disc with every episode and outtake of The Apprentice in his office at MGM down there, before I take a bullhorn and a bunch of yahoos down there to confront him, I say, ‘I better call this guy, like for real, because I know Mark Burnett.’ So I get his new cell phone number and I say, ‘Film this, guys. Film this.’ So they film it and I call him and he’s freaked out. I call him up on my speaker phone and then I say, ‘Hey, give me a copy of that before you leave here.’ And they’re like, ‘Oh Tom, we can’t. You’re not going to tweet that are you? Because that would be wiretapping and the FBI would be here.’ I have to take it off the side of a guy’s camera on my iPhone before they leave, because they think I’m going to frickin’ tweet it, which I did of course.”
A lot of Trump’s base and Burnett’s fans overlap, so Arnold feels Burnett has an obligation to set them straight.
“I’ll tell you what Mark Burnett can do tomorrow,” Arnold said. “He could go on one of those Jesus channels and say, ‘People, people, calm down. Donald Trump is not from Jesus.’ Because they think Donald Trump is from freaking the Bible, or Jesus, or whatever it is. He’s not. No, he’s a man. He’s very flawed. Actually, he does lie a lot. Or he could say one thing to calm these people down. Because these people are just so racist and crazy and their leaders are the worst people that sit around Trump and touch him, these evangelical buddy buddy whores.”
Arnold started to cryptically name drop too.
“When I was with Michael Cohen at the Regency, maybe I was hanging out with him, maybe not, that selfie that was taken, since they didn’t have any friends at Vice Media, I just want to say this, a guy from Rolling Stone took the picture of me and Michael Cohen,” Arnold said. “[Executive Producer] Nomi [Leidner] said, ‘Hey if you want somebody at Vice Media, you have to go through me.’ So I went ahead and just said, ‘I’m with Michael Cohen here in the lobby at the Regency. Can you call your friend at Vice Media and have them come down here to take a picture of me and Michael Cohen?’ So that seems like it would take a while. Anyway, a guy from Rolling Stone takes that picture. I had a friend from CNN that was there. I met somebody at CNN there and his first tape is about CNN. I don’t know if I had anything to do with it, but there were a lot of damn coincidences, where I am there.”
Some of Arnold’s TV show contacts have been helpful in The Hunt for the Trump Tapes too.
“When I talked about The Apprentice outtakes, to begin with, I talked about them after the Access Hollywood tape came out, and nobody did anything,” Arnold said. “I was promoting stand-up in Seattle and nothing happened with Trump. And I said, ‘You know, actually I’ve seen this Apprentice outtakes reel’ And by the way, anybody that works on a reality show that’s in editing and has a signed a $5 million-dollar NDA has probably got a little something, a little tape on something. I know they have a tape on me because I’m a crazy person on all my shows. And also, they save the stuff to be funny. So I had seen this before and I didn’t think Trump was gonna be President when I saw it. I saw it because everybody shares funny stuff. Now, the coincidence in this is the executive producer of The Apprentice brother was my clip producer on The Best Damn Sports Show Period. Complete coincidence. Okay, so this guy that we’re talking about tells the NBC bosses and the MGM bosses, ‘That guy is Tom Arnold’s source.’ So they do a big investigation on my buds, and so I find out about it because we have the same agents, and they’re all nervous. So I call over to NBC and I’m like, ‘Actually, the guy that gave me the tape was that dude, Trump’s buddy.’”
Perhaps Arnold takes Donald Trump personally because for a while they traveled in the same circles as reality TV stars.
“I was one of these A-holes that thought Donald Trump was charming and funny,” Arnold said. “He used to come on The Best Damn Sports Show Period, my sports show. I went to the Playboy Mansion with him because he came on the sports show and he wanted to go see Cara McDougal, his girlfriend. I was like I should at least go over there with him because he was on the Sports Show. And we did a special at the Trump Castle probably 28 years ago, so I had done some business with them. They have pictures from the Elton John Pediatrics AIDS Oscar Party, where I went with him and Melania, that kind of thing, but it wasn’t where I was like, ‘I got to have your cell phone so I can hang.’ He came on the Sports Show. He was a little racist and definitely talked about women in a certain way, but then again I thought I was on a sports show. So I heard that and that’s on me. I liked it when he came out there going, ‘Hey, wait a minute. I’m here because of Tom Arnold.’ On the air he’d say it, out of loyalty. That made me feel good, so I got to own that.”
It was Trump’s Birther shenanigans that turned Arnold.
“Davis Guggenheim made this mini doc for the 2008 Democratic Convention and I watched that thing,” Arnold said. “I grew up Ottumwa, Iowa, which is a small farming community, and I didn’t have a mother growing up. Barack Obama is from Kansas, like this small farming community. This video was about Barack Obama’s life and he didn’t have a father and it showed his grandpa, who looked exactly like my grandpa right? And there was this scene where they were like at the Kennedy Space Center or something, him and his grandpa, and they were watching a rocket come down, and he’s on his grandpa’s shoulders. He didn’t talk about that much, but I bet his grandpa had to defend him a lot when he was a kid. I thought about and I turned on CNN. I remember exactly where I was. I was in my office and I saw Donald Trump on there saying that he wasn’t born in this country. And I thought if his grandpa is alive, he’d be like, ‘You better shut the fuck up, because that’s my fucking grandkid.’ My grandpa would defend me a lot. And I thought, this is outrageous. His grandma’s not alive. His mom’s not even alive. Nobody is there defending them and it just kept going. And I called Mark Burnett and I called Chuck LaBella at NBC and I said, ‘What are you guys doing about this? This is outrageous.’ And it just mushroomed. And then people all over the country, powerful people, when nobody did anything about it, and that’s where it started. It’s personal.”
Arnold does have a theory about people who continue to defend Donald Trump.
“Well, they’re scared,” Arnold said. “They’re scared. A lot of people hitched their wagon to this Donald Trump. There’s a lot of Jews, I’m Jewish, so just like they were, ‘Oh, this guy’s gonna get us that thing in Jerusalem.’ They always get a thing. He’s going to get us the tax break and he’s going to get us this thing. But at a certain point, and I noticed it with Helsinki, people started peeling off. One of the board of directors of MGM called me and said, ‘Meet me for lunch.’ And then another person, just every day this week, things have been changing.”
For more Tom Arnold, The Hunt For The Trump Tapes premieres September 18 on Viceland.