The White House held its first press briefing in two weeks Tuesday, and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did her best to downplay former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault-Newman’s claims regarding President Trump’s racism. But when asked if she could guarantee that the American people would never hear a recording of Trump using the n-word, she replied that she couldn’t.
“I can’t guarantee anything,” Sanders said. “But I can tell you that the president addressed this directly. I can tell you that I never heard it.”
Sanders also insisted that if White House staffers felt Trump was the kind of person critics claimed he was, they “certainly wouldn’t be here.”
Pressed again on whether she could guarantee there was no such recording of the president using a racial slur, Sanders replied, “Look, I haven’t been in every single room. I can tell you the president has addressed this directly.”
Sanders repeatedly leaned on Trump’s tweets from Tuesday morning in which he asserted, “I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have.” He also called himself “a true Champion of Civil Rights.”
Trump also tweeted that Mark Burnett, creator of The Celebrity Apprentice, had called him to assure him that “there are NO TAPES [from The Apprentice] where I used such a terrible and disgusting word.” It’s unclear why Trump would have concerns about whether tapes existed if he was confident he had never said the word.
Omarosa claims that she has personally heard the tape where Trump allegedly use the n-word. Magician Penn Jillette, who was also a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice, similarly told Vulture the tapes exist and said he was in the room to hear Trump say “racially insensitive things.” He would not confirm the specifics of those remarks.