Since before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, persistent rumours have swirled about recordings from “The Celebrity Apprentice” in which then-host Donald Trump uses racist epithets, including the N-word.
With fired White House staffer (and former “Apprentice” villain) Omarosa Manigault-Newman claiming to have heard the tape while former “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant Tom Arnold stars in a television show devoted to finding the tape, another former “Celebrity Apprentice” star is coming forward to state that not only does the tape exist, but he was actually present when the future POTUS used racist language.
In an interview with Vulture, magician Penn Jillette (half of comedy-magic duo Penn & Teller) says he has no doubt in his mind that a tape of Trump using racist language exists — because he watched Trump make racist remarks in person.
“I was in the room,” Jillette tells Vulture.
“He would say racially insensitive things that made me uncomfortable. 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,” he says.
“So when it came to think about supporting him for president, I digested that information from being on the show with him and said, ‘Absolutely not. He would be a terrible president.’ And because I’d been around him and some people cared what I thought, I said that publicly every chance I got — while also saying he’s a good reality show. You want someone capricious and petty and narcissistic to be on your reality show. And boy, I hate to say this, but playing tapes of him doing that job might be unfair. I want those tapes to be used against him, but it might be unfair,” says Jillette.
He explains his reticence to get into specifics. “If Donald Trump had not become president, I would tell you all the stories. But the stakes are now high and I am an unreliable narrator,” he admits. “What I do, as much as anything, is I’m a storyteller. And storytellers are liars. So I can emotionally tell you things that happened racially, sexually, and that showed stupidity and lack of compassion when I was in the room with Donald Trump and I guarantee you that I will get details wrong. I would not feel comfortable talking about what I felt I saw in that room — because when I was on that show I was sleeping four to five hours a night. I was uncomfortable. ‘Stress’ is the wrong word, but I was not at my best. Then at the end of a day, they put you in a room and they bring out a guy [Trump] who has no power whatsoever and he’s capricious and petty and …”
However, he adds: “But I can’t stress this enough: I do not respect Donald Trump.”
Jillette does concede that “I like people when they don’t have filters… Which means if I’m in a room with Trump I’m happy to hear him talk. But I’m also happy to hear Charlie Manson talk. I have nothing good to say about Donald Trump as president.”
While Jillette won’t go into specifics, the same does not hold true for Manigault-Newman and Arnold, with the former telling “Hardball” host Chris Matthews that when Trump said the N-word “it sounded like he used it everyday. It rolled off his mouth.”
Arnold offered a similar anecdote, claiming Trump spoke the word casually, “like he’s said it a billion times before.” In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Arnold alleges that Trump used the word while discussing whether to have dinner at a Harlem restaurant. According to Arnold, Trump allegedly responded: “I don’t want to go uptown with all those n******.”