If Donald Trump was hoping for a post-presidential-run ratings boost for his TV shows, he's officially out of luck.
In a statement released Monday, NBCUniversal announced plans to sever ties with the hotel-and-casino-mogul-turned-reality-TV-star-turned-presidential-candidate for comments he made during his presidential announcement speech this month.
"At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values," the statement reads. "Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump."
Among several immigrant-related comments, Trump said this: "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. "¦ They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
In a statement released after the NBC announcement, the Trump organization doubled-down on the magnate's comments.
"Mr. Trump stands by his statements on illegal immigration, which are accurate" it reads. "NBC is weak, and like everybody else is trying to be politically correct—that's why our country is in serious trouble."
NBC is the second network to decide in recent days to break with Trump for such comments about immigrants—particularly those from Mexico—during his speech. Spanish-language giant Univision said last week that it no longer would air the Miss Universe pageant that Trump co-owns. In response, an NBC representative said in a statement that "we do not agree with his positions on a number of issues, including his recent comments on immigration."
NBC said Monday that the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants will no longer air on the network. And he won't participate in The Apprentice, the network's statement reads, "as Mr. Trump has already indicated."
However, it says that Celebrity Apprentice is licensed through the United Artists Media Group, "and that relationship will continue." The network's intention is to do the show without Trump.
In his statement, Trump said he told NBC "long ago" that he wouldn't be participating in "The Apprentice," "because I am running for President in order to Make our Country Great Again."
Ahead of Trump's presidential announcement, NBC appeared to be proceeding with next season's Celebrity Apprentice as though Trump would be a host or producer.
But just after his announcement, network officials said they would "reevaluate" Trump's participation in the show "should it become necessary, as we are committed to this franchise."
During the 2012 cycle, Trump was accused of toying with a presidential run to help Celebrity Apprentice. This time around, he's faced similar skepticism about self-promotion. Network show aside, his campaign kickoff speech was peppered with references to his book, his under-construction Washington hotel, and his Potomac-side golf course.
Trump indicated in his statement that he would take up NBC's "contract violating closure" of his pageants in court.
"[T]hey will stand behind lying Brian Williams," Trump said, "but won't stand behind people that tell it like it is, as unpleasant as that may be."
A 200,000-signature petition had been circulating via Change.org in recent days, telling NBC to cut The Donald off its network.
Trump's deposition from the network could affect his presidential-campaign calculus. If anything, it could inspire him to campaign longer than before, when his bid was assumed to be a stunt to stoke his television career. Meanwhile, Republicans have complained that by staying in the race, Trump will push more serious presidential candidates off the debate stage. Now, he may have no reason to want to leave the political limelight early.
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