Feb. 2 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump in remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast took a swipe at Arnold Schwarzenegger, joking the religious leaders in attendance should "pray" his ratings on Celebrity Apprentice go up.
The event is held annually in Washington on the first Thursday in February and has been attended by every president since Dwight Eisenhower, along with leaders of every major religion.
Trump was introduced at the event by his longtime reality television partner, Mark Burnett, who created The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice, the shows that launched Trump's television career. Trump thanked Burnett before taking his latest jab at Schwarzenegger, a movie star and former Republican governor of California, who took over the show when Trump left in 2015 to run for president.
"We know how that turned out," Trump said. "The ratings went right down the tubes. ... It has been a disaster. I just want to pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings."
Presidents have traditionally treated the prayer breakfast, which brings together 3,000 religious leaders, politicians and foreign dignitaries, as a solemn occasion and a show of unity between members of different faiths. Trump went on to praise the gathering as a "testament to the power of faith."
Trump also spoke about the "threat" to religious liberty in the United States and across the world, vowing to be tougher on those who try to crack down on the free exercise of faith.
"My administration will do everything in its power to defend and protect religious liberty in our land," he said.
Trump also spoke of the dangers posed by terrorists, calling the violence perpetrated by extremists in the Middle East "genocide," and saying "it must be stopped."
As for the domestic dustup, Schwarzenneger shot back in a video on Twitter on Thursday morning that Trump should be more focused on being president than ratings on a TV show.
"Hey Donald. I have a great idea. Why don't we switch jobs? You take over TV, cause you're such an expert in ratings. And I take over your job, so that people can finally sleep comfortably again, hmm?" Schwarzenegger said.
The National Prayer Breakfast? pic.twitter.com/KYUqEZbJIE— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) February 2, 2017