A winner of The Apprentice and three other former contestants on Donald Trump's reality show denounced the GOP front-runner's presidential campaign as racist and divisive on Friday. Randal Pinkett, a business consultant who won the show's fourth season, said he is grateful for the opportunities that have come his way as a result of the reality show but added, "because our allegiance to our country supersedes our relationship with Donald, we see today as an act of patriotism, not disloyalty." Pinkett held a Manhattan news conference with three other former Apprentice contestants, all of them black: Kwame Jackson, runner-up from season one; Tara Dowdell from season three; and Marshawn Evans Daniels from season four, who appeared via a video feed, the AP reports.
"Trump has created a toxic ecosystem in our political discourse," Jackson told reporters. "Trump has appealed to the lowest common denominator of fear, racism, and divisiveness in our populace. And this mix is never the path to American progress." Dowdell said her participation in "The Apprentice" meant she could not stay silent. "As someone who participated in the show that arguably paved the way for his presidential ascension, I feel it is my responsibility to speak out," she said. Trump has criticized the former contestants as "failing wannabes." "How quickly they forget," he said in a statement earlier this week. "Nobody would know who they are if it weren't for me." (Mark Zuckerberg launched a thinly veiled attack on Trump and his policies earlier in the week.)