Blagojevich called it a “head vs. heart” decision -- Peete had proven herself a better businesswoman, but Michaels recently suffered a life-threatening brain hemorrhage -- and went with his heart. When has Rod ever used his head?
“As the dad of two little daughters, after seeing Bret’s daughters in his arms, I would not be in favor of his firing,” Blagojevich told Mr. Trump.
Remember, Michaels only made it to the finals because Blagojevich sacrificed himself after the men’s team lost the Harry Potter castle challenge in Week 4. Blagojevich was the project leader, but he appointed Michaels creative director. That’s a beautiful set-up for most politicians -- an underling to blame for your failures -- but Rod refused to call Michaels into the board room to face Mr. Trump’s judgment.
Trump really, really didn’t want to fire Blagojevich. “Are you sure you don’t want to bring Bret back in here?” Trump asked Rod, like, five times. At the time, Rod was Celebrity Apprentice’s designated clown: he couldn’t type, couldn’t figure out how to work his cell phone, napped during episodes, and declared his innocence to passersby on the streets of the New York City.
“He’s a great character,” Trump said of Blagojevich.
But Rod, who was more concerned with convincing America he’s a stand-up guy than inflating Mr. Trump’s ratings, refused to roll over on Bret.
That set up Sunday’s heartwarming live finale. After Bret Michaels limped onstage, looking peaked from his brush with death, there was no doubt who Mr. Trump was going to hire. (There was even less doubt when NBC ran a promo for Michaels’s appearance on The Tonight Show -- before Trump announced the decision.)
When the celebrities were asked to reflect on their CE experience, most discussed their charities. Not Rod. He was there for a more important cause: getting himself off the hook.
“I’m going to establish my innocence, and show people who feel powerful forces are arrayed against them that you can fight back,” he said.
That was good enough for Blago’s fellow contestants.
“Let me just ask, a show of hands,” Mr. Trump asked, when Blagojevich’s fellow contestants were gathered on stage, “who thinks Rod is guilty?”
Only sprinter Michael Johnson -- a Blagojevich nemesis who once told Mr. Trump that “Rod didn’t contribute as much as anyone else did” -- raised his hand.
Now, if Rod can just get 12 washed-up celebrities on his jury, he’ll be a free man.