On a New York boardroom set in 2005, Tana Goertz was not hired.
But ten years later, “The Apprentice” season three runner-up has just landed a job with the Donald himself.
It’s a story of redemption.
“It was a really big deal, having an Iowa mom go all the way on the show with Donald Trump. And so it upset a lot of people that I was not the chosen one, but I am now,” she told CNN over frozen custard.
Goertz always knew she’d work for Donald Trump, but she may not have expected to be working on a political campaign. On Thursday, Donald Trump for President announced that she is their newest hire as an Iowa state co-chairwoman, alongside Colonel Brian Miller and activist Richard Thornton.
“These individuals work hard in their chosen professions and understand how hard it is in today’s world to have a positive impact. They bring to this campaign a wide-range of backgrounds that represent many Iowans,” Trump said in a statement.
After her time on “The Apprentice,” Goertz, who lives just outside Des Moines, had 77 job offers. She became a spokesperson for numerous products and businesses, as well as a radio personality, and her motivational speaking career, she said, “went through the roof.”
“I learned so much from Donald in the business world that I now negotiate better. I demand more. I have presentations that are centered around lessons learned from the boardroom,” Goertz said. “I make money from the brand that ‘The Apprentice’ allowed me to create.”
Now it’s her turn to pay Trump back – though not literally.
“But I don’t work for free!” she told CNN.
In her new role, Goertz will be a cheerleader for all things Trump in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. Goertz says no one in Iowa knows Trump better than her – she’s had breakfast at his kitchen table, used the restroom in his penthouse, and Trump’s youngest son, Barron, has a copy of her children’s book.
“I am going to be the hype girl that gets in front of the crowds and talks about his greatness. I believe they are going to use me in strategies for getting volunteers because I am a motivator. That is my profession,” she said.
Ask the entrepreneur and mom of two to weigh in on Trump’s inflammatory comments in in his June announcement speech that some illegal immigrants from Mexico are criminals and “rapists,” and the resulting fallout, and it might sound like you’re talking to Trump himself.
“He will not cower to anyone. And I appreciate and respect that. He stands by his word and I heard his words you know, as a lot of Americans did, but the media likes to twist things and I know that because I’ve been on a show and I know what that’s like. I stand by his decisions,” she said.
“I think that the people that are cowering are weak, and personally, they will not get my business. If Macy’s wants to act that way and be weak and cowardly and not stand behind a man that’s brought them a ton of revenue, well then guess what, I won’t give Macy’s my business. We can all flip the table.”
For Hispanic voters offended by his controversial remarks, Goertz tells them to come and listen to Trump speak.
“We all have parts of our race that we aren’t proud of. And if you listen to the man, you will see his heart, and his heart is not in a bad place. All’s he wants to do is make America better,” she said.
She acknowledged that Trump is losing money running for president, but said he does it because he feels he has no choice: “It’s his duty to make America great again.” (Goertz used Trump’s tagline, “Make America Great Again!” numerous times during the interview.)
A CNN/ORC poll released last week found Trump second nationwide among GOP candidates with 12% support, behind only Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
“I’ve got the juice on why he’s so great. And I’m going to tell everybody I know,” Goertz said. “So far, he’s been so well received here in Iowa that I’m not willing to bet the farm yet, but close to it. I’m close to betting the farm.”