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Omarosa claims she heard Trump N-word tape after book's publication

In an exclusive interview with NBC's Meet the Press, Newman says the tape confirmed her worst fears about Trump.
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By Ben Kamisar

WASHINGTON — Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman said Sunday that she has personally heard a tape of President Donald Trump using the N-word during filming for NBC's "The Apprentice," a revelation she says "confirmed that he is truly a racist."

Newman made the charge during an exclusive interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," days before the release on Tuesday of her new book, "Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House." In the book, Newman describes hearing about the tape but not hearing it herself. She said Sunday that she personally listened to it after her book had gone to press.

She said she had "heard for two years that it existed, and once I heard it for myself, it was confirmed, what I feared the most: That Donald Trump is a con and has been masquerading as someone who is actually open to engaging with diverse communities."

She added: "But when he talks that way, the way he did on this tape, it confirmed that he is truly a racist."

Newman didn't specify when exactly the tape was from, but said that it was from Trump's time hosting the show and spinoffs through early 2015.

Newman described herself as being "complicit" in the White House's deception of the American people and about its interest in advocating for the black community.

"It is hindsight. But I will say this to you, I was complicit with this White House deceiving this nation," she said.

"They continue to deceive this nation by how mentally declined he is," she said, "how difficult it is for him to process complex information. How he is not engaged in some of the most important decisions that impacts our country. I was complicit, and for that I regret."

"It is hindsight. But I will say this to you, I was complicit with this White House deceiving this nation."

Newman also provided "Meet the Press" with an audio recording she said was made in 2017 when White House chief of staff John Kelly fired her. In it, Kelly argued that there have been "significant integrity issues" that prompted him to fire her. She claimed the recording was made when Kelly took her into the Situation Room, a specially secure room where the president and his top aides address major national security crises, and where personal cell phones are not allowed. Newman also said it was the only meeting she had with Kelly during her time at the White House.

In the video, the voice Newman claims belongs to Kelly accused her of "some pretty serious integrity violations," and he said he hopes she can make "this a friendly departure."

In her interview Sunday, Newman said she shared the audio of the meeting to "protect" herself from disparaging reports about her departure that she said were untrue.

NBC News and other outlets reported at the time that Newman had been escorted out of the White House after she tried to enter the presidential residence in response to hearing she'd been fired.

She framed the newly released audio as proof of her story and that Kelly put her in an uncomfortable situation after "trying to find a reason to let me go."

"They take me into the Situation Room, the doors are locked, they tell me I can't leave and they start to threaten me, put fear in me, to put me under duress," she said.

"I protected myself because this is a White House where everybody lies; the president lies to the American people, [press secretary] Sarah Huckabee stands in front of the country and lies every single day. You have to have your own back or else you'll look back and you'll have 17 knives in your back."

"I protected myself because this is a White House where everybody lies."

Newman pushed back further against the framing of her dismissal by calling on the White House to release her personnel file to clear up what exactly happened. She compared the narrative surrounding her departure to that of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who left after accusations of domestic abuse.

"Rob Porter is accused of allegedly abusing his wives," she said. "And you know what John Kelly said about Rob Porter? He said he was a man of great integrity. And he's accusing me of integrity violations?"

Newman said she would love for the White House to release her personnel files. "I'm saying it right now: Release it so that the American people can see that I worked my butt off to make a difference in this country and they were working for ways to frame me."

She has also claimed the Trump campaign offered her a job in exchange for signing a restrictive non-disclosure agreement to keep her from speaking critically about her time with the campaign and the White House. Newman provided what she said were copies of those agreements to "Meet the Press."

The White House and Trump allies have blasted Newman's account as false in numerous statements.

"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 Friday.

"It’s sad that a disgruntled former White House employee is trying to profit off these false attacks, and even worse that the media would now give her a platform, after not taking her seriously when she had only positive things to say about the President during her time in the administration.”

On Saturday, Trump blasted Newman as a "lowlife" in response to questions from reporters about her claims.

But Newman pushed back against her critics by arguing that she can substantiate her claims in the book.

"I have documentation, a whole treasure-trove of documentation for everything you see in this book," she said.

Sunday's interview marked the start of Newman's publicity tour for her forthcoming book, "Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House." She will also appear Monday morning on NBC's "Today."

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