WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters today that she “can’t guarantee” there isn’t a recording of any sort with President Trump saying the N-word.
Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman said Friday while promoting her new book that rumored tapes of Trump using racial slurs on the set of “The Apprentice” exist. Trump tweeted Monday that producer Mark Burnett “called to say that there are NO TAPES of the Apprentice where I used such a terrible and disgusting word as attributed by Wacky and Deranged Omarosa. I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have. She made it up.” Trump also referred to himself as “a true Champion of Civil Rights.”
Shortly after the president spoke out, Tom Arnold, who described his hunt for Trump tapes to Rolling Stone, tweeted that seven “Apprentice” employees gave statements about Trump using the N-word and other slurs on set. “I spoke to 2 Executive Producers & Mark Burnett in person. They all said Trump’s a liar & there is #TrumpTapes,” Arnold tweeted. Separately today, Penn Jillette said Burnett does have tapes of Trump saying “racially insensitive things that made me uncomfortable,” witnessed when he was on Celebrity Apprentice.
CBS released a tape today in which Manigault, former Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, former campaign communications director Jason Miller, and Housing and Urban Development official Lynne Patton discuss how to handle the fallout if an N-word tape was released. “He said it. He is embarrassed by it,” Pierson says on the recording of the conference call; she told CNN this evening that she was “placating” the “bully” Manigault with that statement.
At the daily briefing, Sanders said she’s never heard Trump use the N-word and referred reporters to Trump’s tweets denying he said it.
“Can you stand at the podium and guarantee the American people they’ll never hear Donald Trump utter the N-word on a recording in any context?” a reporter asked.
“I can’t guarantee anything, but I can tell you that the president addressed this question directly. I can tell you that I’ve never heard it. I can also tell you that if myself or the people that are in this building, serving this country every single day, doing our very best to help people all across this country and make it better, if at any point we felt that the president was who some of his critics claim him to be, we certainly wouldn’t be here,” Sanders replied, proceeding to talk about the job rate for African-Americans.
“Look, I haven’t been in every single room,” she added. “…And certainly this is somebody who has been in business for decades and you’re just now hearing some of these outrageous accusations after the fact he’s dealt with people all over the world.”
Trump tweeted today, “When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”
Sanders was asked if there’s a pattern of Trump “singling out African-Americans and commenting in particular about their intelligence or lack thereof and their looks,” including Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) or CNN host Don Lemon.
“The president has said similar things about a number of individuals certainly that are not African-American or any other minority,” Sanders replied. “… This is something that isn’t new and it’s something the American people knew when they voted for him.”
Sanders also said at the briefing that “this has absolutely nothing to do with race and everything to do with the president calling out someone’s lack of integrity.”
“The idea that you would only point a few of the things that the president has said negative about people that are minorities,” she said. “The fact is the president’s an equal opportunity person that calls things like he sees it. He always fights fire with fire and he certainly doesn’t hold back on doing that across the board.”