Continuing her book tour, Omarosa Manigault Newman released an audio recording on Tuesday of former Trump campaign aides discussing the possible existence of a Trump “N-word tape” and how the campaign would respond if it were released. The recording itself did not shed any light on whether the long-rumored tape of Apprentice outtakes in which Trump can purportedly be heard saying the N-word is real, but it did prove that a former Trump 2016 official and a current Trump Housing and Urban Development official lied on Monday about their conversations with Manigault Newman regarding the alleged tape.
On Monday, Manigault Newman told Chris Matthews that she had a meeting during the 2016 campaign with former spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, former campaign communications director Jason Miller, and Lynne Patton, a current Trump HUD appointee who previously worked as Eric Trump’s wedding planner.
“Jason Miller, Lynne Patton, and Katrina [Pierson], we had a conference call, and we talked about what we would do,” Manigault Newman said on MSNBC’s Hardball. “In fact, Katrina Pierson said that she thought he actually said it.”
On Monday evening, Pierson told Fox News that no such conversation ever occurred.
“That did not happen,” she said. “It sounds like she’s writing a script for a movie.”
For her part, Patton did not actually deny that the conversation took place but conflated another claim from Manigault Newman’s book to make it sound like the conversation hadn’t occurred.
“To be clear, at no time did I participate in a conference call with Katrina Pierson advising me, Jason Miller, and Omarosa Manigault-Newman that Frank Luntz had heard President Donald J. Trump use a derogatory racial term,” Patton said in a statement.
On Tuesday, CBS released the audio of Patton, Pierson, and Manigault Newman (CBS also reported that Miller was on the conversation).
“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 in the recording.
Patton can also be heard on the tape apparently saying that Trump denied to her ever using the term.
Pierson interrupted Patton at that point and insisted that she believed Trump used the word. “He said it, no he said it,” Pierson said. “He is embarrassed.”
Pierson admitted to the Daily Beast on Tuesday that the conversation did take place, contrary to what she told Fox News on Monday. She brushed it off, however, as “concern trolling” from Omarosa.
“Omarosa had been concern trolling [about] this tape daily,” Pierson told the Daily Beast. “Finally, I got to the point where, when it was just us, I would roll with it because there were other things that I needed to deal with.
“The thing here is there was never a conference call confirming anything” Pierson added. “It was all speculation, all rumor, all strategy, it was never confirming anything.”
Again, this directly contradicts what she told Fox News just the night before.
On Hardball, Manigault Newman claimed that after she put the book to bed, she was actually played audio of Trump using the word by a former member of the production staff of the Apprentice.
Manigault Newman also said that the former staff member specifically instructed her to “put headphones on” and then played an audio recording. She claimed that Trump used the N-word multiple times in the purported recording.
“What’s upsetting about it is it was about someone that was on the cast with me, about Kwame Jackson, who was the African American contestant, male contestant, on the first season of the Apprentice,” Manigault Newman said. “And that’s why it was so disturbing.”
She also claimed that after listening to the audio, she called Eric Trump’s wife, Lara, to discuss it and recorded that conversation.*
“I called her to tell her what I heard and what was happening and she wasn’t surprised, she was just sort of in damage control mode,” Manigault Newman said.
On Monday, Trump said “I don’t have that word in my vocabulary” and that he spoke with Apprentice creator Mark Burnett, who denied the existence of any tapes in which the president said the N-word.
Burnett is the CEO of MGM Worldwide Television Group, which has refused to release outtakes to the public, citing vague legal concerns. MGM has been issued a subpoena seeking any outtakes of derogatory comments Trump may have made about women as part of a lawsuit by a former Apprentice contestant.
On Tuesday, the president tweeted that Manigault Newman was a “dog.”
Multiple news outlets also reported on Tuesday that the Trump campaign had filed confidential arbitration proceedings against Manigault Newman, alleging that she had violated the terms of a campaign nondisclosure agreement.
Correction, Aug. 14, 2018: This post originally misidentified Eric Trump’s wife as Laura.