Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen alleges that the president called a contestant on The Apprentice a “Black fag.”
Cohen, commonly known as the president’s “fixer” during his time with Trump, made the allegation in his new book, Disloyal: A Memoir.
He claims that Trump ensured that Jackson Kwame, a gay, Black man, would not win the NBC reality show’s first season in 2004.
“There was no way I was going to let this Black fag win,” Trump allegedly said, according to Cohen.
Kwame, a Harvard graduate and businessman, was the runner-up of the first season, after Trump opted to fire him and instead hire Bill Rancic, future husband of E! News host Giuliana Rancic.
“Trump reminisced to me about Rancic, who had been in a head-to-head with another contestant, Kwame Jackson,” Cohen wrote. “Kwame was not only a nice guy, but also a brilliant Harvard MBA graduate. Trump was explaining his back-and-forth about not picking Kwame. ‘There was no way I was going to let this black fag win,’ he said to me.”
Cohen claimed that Trump frequently made racist comments off-camera: “As a rule, Trump expressed low opinions of all Black folks. What he said in private was far worse than what he uttered in public.”
Trump has previously been accused of using racial slurs during filming of The Apprentice and spin-off The Celebrity Apprentice, which he hosted between 2004 and 2015,
Magician and entertainer Penn Jillette, of duo Penn & Teller, told Vulture in 2018 that Trump would “say racially insensitive things that made me uncomfortable” while filming Celebrity Apprentice in 2012.
“I don’t think he ever said anything in that room like ‘African-Americans are inferior’ or anything about rape or grabbing women, but of those two hours every other day in a room with him, every 10 minutes was fingernails on chalkboard,” Jillette said.
Former Trump political aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, who also appeared in the first season of The Apprentice alongside Jackson, accused Trump of using a racial slur in reference to Jackson while filming their season.
At the time of her accusation in 2018, Jackson told Variety, “Hard pass on all things Omarosa, no thank you. By me commenting or you covering the story, it simply adds fuel and attention to tomfoolery.”
“Did it hurt me personally? Not in the slightest,” he said. “I have a reasonably thick skin, and I have worked in corporate America. I have been a black man for 44 years in America, and I know what that means, and I know what comes with the territory.”
Last week, Cohen appeared on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, where he said that Trump hated former President Barack Obama and frequently made racist remarks about him, The Hill reports.
“His hatred for Barack Obama is plain and simple: he’s Black, he went to Harvard Law, he graduated at the top of his class, he’s incredibly articulate, he’s all the things that Donald Trump wants to be,” Cohen said. “And he just can’t handle it. So what do you do if you’re Donald Trump and you can’t handle it? You attack it.”
Trump frequently touted the false conspiracy theory that President Obama was not a U.S. citizen as part of attempts to delegitimize his presidency, including a 2011 appearance on The View in which he asked the president to “show his birth certificate.”
In 2018, former First Lady Michelle Obama wrote in her memoir Becoming that she would “never forgive” Trump for spreading “reckless innuendos” about her family that endangered their safety.
“The whole [birther] thing was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly,” Obama wrote. “But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks.”
In a statement, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany disputed the claims made in Cohen’s book, saying, “Michael Cohen is a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer who lied to Congress. He has lost all credibility, and it’s unsurprising to see his latest attempt to profit off of lies.”
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