Former lawyer and fixer tells Vanity Fair that Trump repeatedly used racist language before he was elected
Michael Cohen, a former Trump confidant, told Vanity Fair that the president had once told him that “black people are too stupid to vote” for him and had challenged Cohen to name “one country run by a black person that’s not a shithole”.
Cohen’s claims come after Omarosa Manigault Newman, once the most prominent African American in the White House, published a searing memoir in which she claimed Trump was a “racist” who has used the “N-word” repeatedly during the making of his reality TV show The Apprentice.
At the time, the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said “this book is riddled with lies and false accusations” and called Newman “a disgruntled former White House employee … trying to profit off these false attacks”.
Earlier this month, Cohen returned to the Democratic party, the latest in a series of steps he has taken to distance himself from Trump following a bitter falling-out.
In the Vanity Fair interview, Cohen is quoted as saying: “I told Trump that the rally looked vanilla on television. Trump responded: ‘That’s because black people are too stupid to vote for me.’”
He also recalled: “[Trump] said to me, ‘Name one country run by a black person that’s not a shithole,’ and then he added, ‘Name one city’.” Cohen’s claim echoes echoed the president’s alleged comments about African nations earlier this year.
Regarding a contestant on The Apprentice, Cohen claimed: “He said, ‘There’s no way I can let this black f-g win.’”
Vanity Fair said the White House did not respond to requests for comment on Cohen’s claims.
Cohen had served as the Republican party’s deputy finance chairman but resigned that post this year amid a criminal investigation into his business dealings.
Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight federal charges, including tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations. In pleading guilty, he said that Trump directed him to arrange payments before the 2016 election to buy the silence of the porn actor Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model who alleged they had affairs with Trump.
Cohen is scheduled to be sentenced 12 December.