Michael Cohen claimed that President Donald Trump used racist language in several private conversations with him during the time he worked as Trump’s personal lawyer and “fixer.”
In an interview with Vanity Fair that published Friday, Cohen recalled four times that Trump made denigrating comments to him about black people.
CNN has confirmed from a source close to Cohen that the Vanity Fair story and quotes are accurate. The White House did not respond to Vanity Fair’s multiple requests for comment. CNN has also reached out to the White House for comment.
Cohen alleged that Trump made a disparaging comment about African-American voters when they were discussing the turnout for one of his 2016 campaign rallies.
“I told Trump that the rally looked vanilla on television. Trump responded, ‘That’s because black people are too stupid to vote for me,’ ” the President’s former lawyer told the magazine.
Cohen claimed that when South African leader Nelson Mandela died, Trump remarked, “‘Name one country run by a black person that’s not a s***hole,’ and then he added, ‘Name one city.’”
He said that when he and Trump were traveling to Chicago in the late 2000s, “we were going from the airport to the hotel, and we drove through what looked like a rougher neighborhood.”
“Trump made a comment to me, saying that only the blacks could live like this,” Cohen told Vanity Fair.
Cohen also claimed that Trump said “there’s no way’” he could let an African-American contestant from season one of “The Apprentice” be the reality show’s winner.
According to Vanity Fair, Cohen expressed regret over not quitting his job at the Trump Organization after Trump allegedly made those remarks to him, telling the magazine, “I should have been a bigger person, and I should have left.”
The latest allegations from Cohen against his former boss come after their relationship soured over a federal investigation into Cohen. Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight criminal counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations. He also said that “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office” – referring to Trump – he had helped keep potentially harmful information about Trump from becoming public during the 2016 campaign.
Cohen is scheduled to be sentenced in December.
Former White House communications staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman, who was fired from her job last December, claimed in her book “Unhinged” that Trump had used a racial slur on the set of “The Apprentice.”
Trump has denied Manigault Newman’s claim and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has said Manigault Newman’s book is “riddled with lies and false accusations.”