The accusations stem from former Apprentice contestant and ex-White House aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman, who has caused a stir while promoting her just-released Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House. Already on her book tour, she has released tapes of two conversations that she secretly recorded during her time at the White House: one in which Gen. John Kelly fires her in the Situation Room (a location where electronic devices are not permitted), and another in which Trump claims he didn’t know Manigault-Newman was going to be dismissed from her job.
In an interview with Chuck Todd on Sunday’s Meet the Press, Manigault-Newman elaborated on a passage from her book that describes a tape from Trump’s Apprentice days, in which he is allegedly heard using the N-word. She went on to clarify that after hearing rumors of the tape’s existence for two years, she met with “the person who actually has a copy of the tape” in Los Angeles and heard the slur for herself.
“I heard his voice as clear as you and I are sitting here,” Manigault-Newman said. “It confirmed what I feared the most: that Donald Trump is a con and has been masquerading as someone who is actually open to engaging with diverse communities. But when he talks that way, the way he did on this tape, it confirmed that he is truly a racist… This person [who has the tape] is so afraid because of the forces who are working to keep this tape from coming out.”
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Though Manigault-Newman did not name the person who has the alleged tape, Trump identified Apprentice creator Mark Burnett in a tweet on Monday night, claiming that Burnett called Trump to assure him that such a tape does not exist.
Weeks prior to Trump’s election — in the wake of the Access Hollywood audio leak that featured Trump’s infamous “Grab ’em by the p—y” sound bite — it was wondered if behind-the-scenes footage from The Apprentice would be similarly disparaging. As such, there was a call for Burnett to come clean. But producer MGM at the time issued a statement saying, “Mark Burnett does not have the ability or the right to release footage or other material from The Apprentice” and “various contractual and legal requirements also restrict MGM’s ability to release such material.”
Burnett, for his part, denied “all of the false media reports” at the time that speculated he would vote for Trump in the election.
“I am not now and have never been a supporter of Donald Trump’s candidacy. I am not ‘pro-Trump,'” he said in October 2016. “Further, my wife and I reject the hatred, division and misogyny that has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign.”