This isn’t any sort of outrage, just a neat example of Trump being Trump no matter the circumstances. I keep finding myself oddly impressed by how little he seems to worry about offending religious audiences. It used to be that Republican candidates would sweat their remarks to religious crowds knowing that one idle rhetorical misstep or uncharitable statement unbefitting a gathering of the faithful might fail some litmus test and be used against him later. Trump’s never cared much about that. His infamous jab at McCain and POWs in 2015 came at the Family Leadership Summit, an event for Christian conservatives in Iowa. Searching for ways to flatter Christians, he would routinely tell them on the trail that the Bible was the only book better than “The Art of the Deal,” a typically (and typically amusing) Trumpian form of compliment via self-aggrandizement. When asked by a radio host what his favorite Bible verse was, he skipped the pieties about the Sermon on the Mount or loving one’s neighbor and chose “an eye for an eye.” There are other examples of inattention too, from the very, very minor (“Two Corinthians”) to the more substantive, like when he said during an interview that he didn’t think North Carolina needed a law specifying which bathrooms transgenders should lose or when he said that maybe we should leave abortion laws alone for awhile. He’s always operated with supreme confidence that, so long as he hits the very biggest bullet points — abortion is wrong, gay marriage shouldn’t be legal, etc — religious voters on the right will stick with him and dismiss everything else. And he was right. Hats off to him for being that savvy.
Here’s the latest manifestation, which is slightly less weird than it seems. He’s not talking about Arnold and “The Apprentice” randomly; it’s on his mind because he was introduced this morning by Mark Burnett, his partner on the show. Even so — imagine kicking off your first presidential speech at a prayer breakfast by reminding your audience how much better your TV ratings are than the loser who replaced you. You’re mortified by how “out of the moment” he is, but also you can’t help laughing. It’s classic Trump. And of course here’s Arnold himself in the second clip below, taking the bait.