Donald Trump says he got a personal assurance from The Apprentice creator Mark Burnett that there are no tapes of him using the N-word from his time hosting the show, despite repeated suggestions to the contrary by Omarosa Manigault Newman.
“@MarkBurnettTV 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,” the president tweeted Monday evening.
A representative for Burnett did not immediately return EW’s request for comment.
Manigault Smith, a former Apprentice contestant and White House aide, claims in her upcoming book Unhinged that Trump is a “racist” who uses the “N-word.” Specifically, she alleges Trump used the N-word “multiple times” during the filming of The Apprentice. Tom Arnold, another former Apprentice contestant, hinted at something similar when he told Seattle radio station KIRO that there were outtakes of Trump saying “every bad thing ever, every offensive, racist thing ever.”
According to The Guardian, which published details from Unhinged that EW can confirm, Manigault Smith does not claim in the book to have personally witnessed Trump use the N-word. However, in an interview with NPR on Friday, she stated that she did, in fact, hear the president use the word. She also writes in Unhinged that she heard Trump hurl racially abusive terms towards Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George Conway, who is half Filipino. “Would you look at this George Conway article?” Trump allegedly said, as quoted in Unhinged. “F—ing FLIP! Disloyal! F—ing Goo-goo.”
Last week, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders released a statement to The New York Times about Manigault and her book, saying, “Instead of telling the truth about all the good President Trump and his administration are doing to make America safe and prosperous, this book is riddled with lies and false accusations. It’s sad that a disgruntled former White House employee is trying to profit off these false attacks, and even worse that the media would now give her a platform, after not taking her seriously when she had only positive things to say about the President during her time in the administration.”
Manigault was hired as the Trump White House’s director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison, but was fired, reportedly, for using the White House car service as “an office pick-up and drop-off service.” After her stint on Celebrity Big Brother — where she compared the WH to a plantation, among other things — Manigault announced the book, which was described by publisher Simon & Schuster as a “stunning tell-all and takedown.”
Speculation and rumors about The Apprentice tapes have been swirling since the leak of the infamous Access Hollywood tape, which showed Trump using lewd and sexually aggressive language in 2005.
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In 2016, Bill Pruitt — producer for the first two seasons of The Apprentice — claimed tapes exist of Trump making “far worse” comments than what he said in the leaked recording. (In that clip, from outtakes from an appearance on Access Hollywood, Trump said he could grab women “by the p—y” because of his fame, among other graphic statements.) Another TV veteran, producer Chris Nee, claimed in a now-deleted tweet that Trump — who spent 11 years as host of the reality television series — may have used the “N-word” on the tapes. (Nee later wrote she had only “heard rumors” of the videos.)
At the time, Buzzfeed claimed that Burnett controlled footage from The Apprentice and had threatened to sue any employee for leaking footage to the media. Burnett and MGM addressed the claim in a subsequent statement:
“MGM owns Mark Burnett’s production company and The Apprentice is one of its properties. Despite reports to the contrary, Mark Burnett does not have the ability nor the right to release footage or other material from The Apprentice. Various contractual and legal requirements also restrict MGM’s ability to release such material. The recent claims that Mark Burnett has threatened anyone with litigation if they were to leak such material are completely and unequivocally false. To be clear, as previously reported in the press, which Mark Burnett has confirmed, he has consistently supported Democratic campaigns.”