Former “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant Clay Aiken: Trump is a demagogue

Bianna Golodryga
·Yahoo News and Finance Anchor

By Alex Bregman

Singer and North Carolina native Clay Aiken, who was a contestant on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” and ran for Congress in North Carolina in 2014, joined Yahoo News and Finance Anchor Bianna Golodryga on “Yahoo News Live” to discuss Trump’s presidential candidacy and the ongoing debate over the LGBT law passed in his home state.

On Trump’s candidacy, Aiken said, “I spent quite a few months trying to not defend, but to talk about my experience with him as a gracious person. I kind of don’t remember that man anymore.” He continued, “I don’t even know who he is right now. The person who he is portraying himself to be on the stump right now is someone who doesn’t believe the things that he’s said. I want to believe that he’s just someone interested in attention.”

Aiken’s view of Trump changed after violence erupted at some of the candidate’s rallies. He told Golodryga: “The line that he crossed was when there was so much violence at his rallies, and he told supporters to punch protesters in the face. It’s one thing to say something on the stump that you actually never put into practice down the road if you get into office, but it’s a completely different thing to incite violence and encourage people to hurt folks here and now today. To me that is not just disgusting. It is not just un-presidential, but to think that that’s OK is sort of delusional.”

On whether or not he considers Trump to be a demagogue, he told Golodryga: “That’s probably a good way to put it … regardless of whether or not he believes it. There are two choices here: He can actually believe the things that he’s saying and that’s dangerous and it’s very un-American. Or he can not believe the things that he’s saying and just be saying them for attention, and in some ways that’s even more dangerous.” He continued, “I’d almost rather Ted Cruz be the nominee specifically because I know exactly what he believes.”

Turning to the debate over the law passed in his home state of North Carolina that blocks local governments from passing antidiscrimination protections for the LGBT community and whether or not the state’s Republican governor will ultimately succumb to pressure, particularly from the business community, to reverse his decision to support the law, Aiken said, “I don’t know that this governor will succumb to pressure. I think he has miscalculated and thinks this is a good thing for his reelection. I think he’s completely inaccurate there, and I think the people of North Carolina know that and will vote for Roy Cooper.” Aiken added, “I think it’s something that’s going to be overturned in the courts.”

Aiken has faith North Carolinians will ultimately strike down the law. He told Golodryga: “When North Carolinians recognize that this law goes far beyond the bathroom issue, they’re not going to put up with it.”