Real estate mogul and presidential candidate Donald Trump responded to the news that NBC will cut ties with him over his comments on illegal immigration, calling the network "weak and foolish" and threatening to sue over broken contracts with the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants.
"If NBC is so weak and so foolish to not understand the serious illegal immigration problem in the United States, coupled with the horrendous and unfair trade deals we are making with Mexico, then their contract violating closure of Miss Universe/Miss USA will be determined in court," Trump said in a statement.
"Furthermore, they will stand behind lying Brian Williams, but won’t stand behind people that tell it like it is, as unpleasant as that may be," he added.
Trump went on to say that he's "had a great relationship with" with NBC, but they didn’t want me to run because they wanted to do The Apprentice," he explained. "I just told them I cannot do The Apprentice because of the fact that I’m running…They were not happy with this, and now, with my statements on immigration, which happen to be correct, they are going to take a different stance – that’s okay."
"Whatever they want to do is okay with me," he said. "As far as ending the relationship, I have to do that, because my view on immigration is much different than the people at NBC."
"You have to stop illegal immigration. I know NBC might disagree with me, but you cannot have illegal immigration. You do not have a country if you do.... I told NBC I can’t change my stance . . . . My stance on immigration is correct." he added.
NBC announced Monday that it's ending its long relationship with Trump in the wake of the presidential hopeful's recent comments about Mexican immigrants.
NBC said it will no longer carry the Trump-produced Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. Nor will he return to the long-running reality show "The Celebrity Apprentice" as host, a role Trump already said he would give up because of his presidential bid.
"Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump," NBC said in a statement. "At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values."
NBC's move comes on the heels of a fight that broke out last week between Trump and Univision. The Spanish-language giant pulled the plug on its planned telecast of the Miss USA pageant after Trump's statements earlier this month about Mexican immigrants. In the news conference announcing his bid for the GOP presidential nomination, Trump asserted that many immigrants coming across the border are "rapists" and bringing in drugs.
The most recent edition of "Celebrity Apprentice" aired on NBC in January and February of this year. The show began in 2004 as "The Apprentice," a competition for aspiring moguls to win a shot at working for a Trump company. It yielded the catchphrase "You're fired" and blazed hot for several seasons. But as ratings tailed off, the format shifted to focus on celebrity contestants. The last non-celeb "Apprentice" aired in early 2008.
NBC's ties to Trump became increasingly problematic for the network in the past few years as the real estate developer took extreme positions on political issues and as he flirted with running for elected office. The outcry over the comments about immigrants and his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border to tighten security appears to have been the last straw.
Material from Reuters was used in this report.
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