White House Can’t Guarantee There’s No Tape of Trump Using the N-Word

“I haven’t been in every single room,” said press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Chris Kleponis/ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders couldn’t guarantee on Tuesday that the American public would never hear a recording of President Donald Trump saying the N-word.

“Can you stand at the podium and guarantee the American people they’ll never hear Donald Trump utter the N-word on a recording in any context?” NBC’s Kristen Welker asked during Tuesday’s White House press briefing.

“I can’t guarantee anything, but I can tell you that the president addressed this question directly,” Sanders responded, referring to the president’s tweet Monday night denying that he had ever used the racial slur. “I can tell you that I’ve never heard it.”

She later added, “I haven’t been in every single room.”

Rumors of a tape featuring Trump using the N-word during his work on NBC’s The Apprentice first emerged during the 2016 campaign and resurfaced in recent days ahead of the publication of a memoir by Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former White House aide and Apprentice contestant. The promotion of Manigault Newman’s book has included the release of three audio clips she says she surreptitiously recorded in the White House and on the campaign trail.

The newest recording, which was released hours before Tuesday’s press briefing, purported to catch Trump campaign staffers discussing the potential fallout of the alleged Apprentice tape and how they would “spin” it. On the recording, Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson can be heard saying, “No, he said it. He is embarrassed.”

During the same press briefing, Sanders also declined to state whether she had signed a nondisclosure agreement upon joining the Trump administration. (The Trump campaign has reportedly filed an arbitration action alleging that Newman violated her nondisclosure agreement in her recent publicity blitz.) She did, however, falsely claim that signing one is common practice for government employees.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.