Trump claims tapes of him saying the 'N-word' don't exist

Trump claims tapes of him saying the 'N-word' don't exist
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE on Monday pushed back against allegations by former White House aide Omarosa Manigault NewmanOmarosa Onee Manigault NewmanTrump renews attacks on Omarosa, slamming her as 'disgusting and foul mouthed' Ex-sycophants highlight the void of competence around Trump Scaramucci breaks up with Trump in now-familiar pattern MORE that he used the "N-word" on the set of "The Apprentice."

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"I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have. She made it up," Trump tweeted, deriding his former aide as "Wacky and Deranged Omarosa."

Manigault Newman, who rose to fame via multiple appearances on "The Apprentice," has claimed she heard tapes where Trump repeatedly uses the racial slur during filming of his old NBC reality show.

Trump claimed in his tweet Monday night that Mark Burnett, the creator of "The Apprentice," called to say no such tapes exist.

In a subsequent tweet, Trump pointed to Manigault Newman's past comments about him, where she denied he was a racist.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Burnett faced pressure to release tapes from the set of "The Apprentice" after it was revealed Trump bragged about groping women during a hot-mic recording from NBC's "Access Hollywood."

Burnett, who issued a statement in October 2016 condemning Trump's candidacy, did not confirm at the time whether such footage exists, but said he did not have the rights to release it.

The New York Times reported that Trump's contract for "The Apprentice" gives him control over his name and likeness. As a result, parent company MGM would have to get Trump's permission to release the tapes.

Former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos, who has accused Trump of sexual misconduct, asked MGM earlier this year to turn over unseen recordings from the show as part of her lawsuit against him.

Manigault Newman, who was fired from her West Wing job in December, has returned to the spotlight in recent days to promote her book, "Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House."

The memoir contains a number of shocking claims, many of which are unverified. She alleges Trump is a racist, a misogynist and a narcissist. She writes that she had not heard the tapes of Trump using the "N-word" on "The Apprentice" set, but has said she's listened to them since the book went to print.

She described the tape on MSNBC's "Hardball" on Monday. She said Trump used the racial slur to describe Kwame Jackson, a fellow contestant on the first season of "The Apprentice."

"It sounded as if he used it every day," Manigault Newman said.

She claimed that the individual in possession of the tape used to be part of the production staff and is planning to use the recording for political purposes.

"And they saw it — took it on themselves to actually document this so that they could expose him for the racist that he is," Manigault Newman said.

Trump has faced criticism for his use of racially charged rhetoric since he first announced his candidacy, when he referred to illegal immigrants crossing the southern border as "rapists" and drug-dealers.

A number of lawmakers, including some Republicans, condemned the president for making racist remarks when he referred to Haiti and some African nations as "shithole" countries.

In an effort to undermine Manigault Newman's credibility, White House aides have noted that she was previously effusive in her praise of Trump before, during and immediately after her stint in the White House.

Upon her departure in December, she denied in an interview that Trump is racist, saying "I would never sit nor work for someone who I believe to be a racist." 

White House staffers have made a concerted effort to paint Manigault Newman as a disgruntled former employee trying to profit from her time in the administration.

“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," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement on Friday. 

On Sunday, White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayObama, Bush among those paying tribute to Cokie Roberts: 'A trailblazing figure' Journalists, political heavyweights pay respects to Cokie Roberts: 'A pioneer for so many' Iran's supreme leader rules out talks with US at all levels MORE said she's never heard Trump use a racial slur in her two years working with him.

"The first time I ever heard Omarosa suggest those awful things about this president are in this book," Conway said. "And I think that Omarosa unfortunately has undercut her own credibility."

Updated at 10:50 p.m.