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Ex-'Apprentice' producer: Trump's behind-the-scenes comments were 'very much a racist issue'
A former producer of "The Apprentice" said Thursday that President Trump repeatedly made racist comments behind the scenes of his former NBC show.
On an episode of NPR's podcast "Embedded," Bill Pruitt said the former reality TV host made disparaging comments about African-Americans and Jewish people, particularly when discussing who to "fire" from the show's contestants.
"[It was] very much a racist issue," Pruitt said.
Pruitt's claims first entered the spotlight a year ago, after the "Access Hollywood" tape in which Trump is heard bragging about groping women first went viral. The producer had tweeted that the tapes were "just the beginning" of similar comments.
Pruitt told NPR that, as a producer, he felt he wasn't in a position to speak out against what the show host was saying.
"It was not my place to be, 'Hey, TV star, you know, reason we're all here, shut your goddamn mouth, and don't ever, ever repeat what you just said,'" Pruitt said. "Of course, you know, you think that. You go back to your hotel room or your apartment that they put you up in. And you know, you do some soul-searching."
Embedded's host, Kelly McEvers, said the show reached out to the White House for comment and were told that Pruitt's claims were "the same recycled and false attacks."
Pruitt said Trump's wealth and success were exaggerated for the purpose of the show. He told McEvers he feels guilty about it, saying the image he helped create helped Trump win the presidency.
"We told a story," he said. "And now all of a sudden we're here. A cultural icon emerged because we weren't necessarily truthful about our portrayal."