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Trump staff debates his possible N-word use in new Omarosa tape

Aug 14 2018 17:28
Justin Sink, Bloomberg

Top Trump campaign officials appear to discuss how to "spin" the possible release of video featuring the then-candidate using a racial slur in the latest recording of an internal discussion released by former White House aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman.

In the tape, provided to CBS News, Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson is heard saying she is trying to find out the context in which then-candidate Donald Trump used the N-word "to help us maybe try to figure out a way to spin it". During the presidential campaign, it was rumoured that video existed of the president using the epithet during outtakes from his reality television show "The Apprentice".

But the audio also makes clear that Pierson and other top Trump officials had not actually heard the alleged recording, and that Trump denied its existence to them at the time.

"I said, well, sir, can you think of anytime that this might have happened, and he said, no," aide Lynne Patton appears to say on the recording.

Trump has publicly insisted he never used the slur, including in a tweet on Monday, in which he said, "The Apprentice" producer Mark Burnett called him to say there were no tapes featuring Trump using "such a terrible and disgusting word".

"I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have," Trump said.

Pierson and Manigault-Newman appear to express their skepticism that Trump did not use the epithet in the recording, which has not been independently verified by Bloomberg News, although do not appear to provide evidence for why they don’t believe Trump.

"No, he said it," Pierson said. "He is embarrassed."

Pierson denied making those remarks in an interview on Monday night before the tape was released.

"That did not happen," Pierson told Fox News. "It sounds like she’s writing a script for a movie."

Manigault-Newman - the director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison before she was fired last year by Chief of Staff John Kelly - has been promoting a book about her time in the West Wing.

In several interviews, she has accused Trump of being a racist and a misogynist and said that he was mentally unfit. She claimed that a tape captured Trump making racial slurs during the run of “The Apprentice”.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Omarosa said Trump never made such comments in her presence, but that she had “heard his voice” on tape “as clear as you and I are sitting here”. The White House has fiercely denied Manigault-Newman’s account, and Trump himself has lambasted her several times on Twitter.

"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," Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning. "Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!"

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