Omarosa Manigault Newman’s claims about a recording of President Trump using the “N-word” are being disputed by an ever-growing list of current and former officials, calling into question a key passage in her newly released political tell-all.
Manigault Newman’s claims first surfaced this week in a media blitz to promote the book, “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House,” which hit the shelves Tuesday. In interviews and the book, she claimed she confirmed rumors of an old tape from “The Apprentice” in which Trump used the racial slur.
It is unclear at this point whether Manigault Newman ever heard the alleged tape—and whether it exists.
But multiple former and current officials close to the president have denied her claims.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told Fox News he “never heard of any tape.”
“I have never heard the president use that word ever,” Lewandowski said Tuesday, adding that there was “never a conversation” about a tape and that it was “never brought to [his] attention.”
“This is now a pattern of individuals who have worked inside the building who are trying to profiteer off of their relationship with the president,” Lewandowski said. “It’s too bad, it’s shameful and our country, and the president, deserve better.”
Michael Short, a former White House aide, also told Fox News he had no knowledge of the tape.
“I never heard the president use any of the epithets alleged in the book or epithets of any kind,” Short told Fox News.
Manigault Newman suggested the reason Chief of Staff John Kelly fired her from her White House post was her pursuit of the tape. She wrote in her book that former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks told Kelly that Manigault Newman was “this close” to getting her “hands” on the tape.
“Given the circumstances and the timing, I had to believe that the purpose was to prevent me from getting the N-word tape, which, by logic, I was now convinced had to be real,” she wrote in the prologue.
But the former “Apprentice” star has given varying accounts about the tape. In the book, she claimed she never heard the tape, but during interviews this week, she claimed she heard the recording after the book was written.
Lynne Patton, a former assistant to Eric Trump and now a Department of Housing and Urban Development official, pushed back on Manigault Newman’s claims.
In a statement, Patton said she got a call from her on the day she was fired, “informing me that she had personally heard a second-hand recording of President Trump using the ‘N-word’ in a derogatory fashion.” In that call, she said, Manigault Newman claimed she voluntarily “submitted her resignation” to Kelly and recommended that Patton “should promptly do the same before the audio surfaced.”
Manigault Newman claimed this week that the original source of the alleged tape was former “Apprentice” producer Bill Pruitt.
But Patton said she spoke to Pruitt, and he has “NEVER had an audio tape” of Trump using the slur.
Pruitt did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Katrina Pierson, former campaign spokeswoman, also told “Fox News @ Night” that she has “no sources with that tape.”
Pierson also denied ever having a conversation about the tape, adding that “the reason Omarosa is facing a wrath of contradiction is because she can’t keep her lies straight.” Patton, too, denied being on a conference call with Manigault Newman discussing the tape rumors — as she claimed in her book.
However, the emergence of yet another recording on Tuesday challenged that part of their claims. Manigault Newman released to CBS News a supposed recording of that phone call. It purportedly features her, Patton, Pierson and campaign communications director Jason Miller.
“I am trying to find at least what context it was used in to help us maybe try to figure out a way to spin it,” Pierson says on the tape.
Patton is then heard describing a conversation she had with Trump about his alleged use of the slur.
“I said, ‘Well, sir, can you think of anytime where this happened?’ And he said, ‘no,'” Patton is heard saying.
Manigault Newman responds: “Well, that is not true.”
Pierson later says: “No, he said it. He is embarrassed by it.”
Upon the release of the CBS tape, Pierson attempted to clarify her comments.
“I never organized a conference call with Jason Miller to confirm Mr. Trump said anything. That discussion was nothing other than sifting through unconfirmed rumors regarding ‘The Apprentice’ tape and the transcript supports my statement,” Pierson said in a statement to Fox News Tuesday. “Omarosa fabricated the story by conflating numerous discussions.”
Also in the book, Manigault Newman claimed that pollster Frank Luntz had directly heard the “N-word” tape.
Luntz fired back on Friday, tweeting that her claim was “flat-out false.”
“I’m in @Omarosa’s book on page 149. She claims to have heard from someone who heard from me that I heard Trump use the N-word. Not only is this flat-out false (I’ve never heard such a thing), but Omarosa didn’t even make an effort to call or email me to verify. Very shoddy work,” Luntz tweeted.
Trump on Monday night also tweeted that executive producer of “The Apprentice” Mark Burnett assured him there are “NO TAPES” where he used “such a terrible and disgusting word.”
“@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,” Trump tweeted.
Fox News’ Ed Henry contributed to this report.
Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.
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