Magician Penn Jillette believes “The Apprentice” producer Mark Burnett has tapes of Donald Trump saying damaging things during the president’s time judging the NBC reality competition.
As an alum of “The Celebrity Apprentice,” Jillette “was in the room” when they were said, he told Vulture in an interview published on Tuesday.
However, Jillette, a libertarian, said he wouldn’t try to say verbatim what he had heard during his time on the show and declined to detail specifics. But he went ahead and shared the gist anyway.
“If Donald Trump had not become president, I would tell you all the stories. But the stakes are now high and I am an unreliable narrator,” he said.
The comic noted that he was sleeping only four to five hours a night during production, he said, and was not at his best. Nor, he said, was Trump, whom he called “capricious and petty.”
“He would say racially insensitive things that made me uncomfortable. I don’t think he ever said anything in that room like ‘African-Americans are inferior’ or anything about rape or grabbing women, but of those two hours every other day in a room with him, every 10 minutes was fingernails on chalkboard,” he said.
Jillette, half of the magic-comedy duo Penn & Teller, added that Trump would ask one cast member “if he’d rather have sex with this woman or that woman” and listed a few other examples of questionable behavior. But he was quick to note that “context is really tricky.”
Jillette appeared on seasons 5 and 6 of “The Celebrity Apprentice.” The latter season also featured Trump’s former aide and reality-show villain Omarosa Manigault Newman.
Manigault Newman’s claim in a new tell-all book that Trump used a racial epithet during the show created a firestorm for the president this week and led him to lash out and call her “a crazed, crying lowlife” and “that dog!” on Tuesday.
Trump claimed in a tweet Monday that Burnett called him to tell him no such tapes exist, after Manigault Newman’s accusations hit a fever pitch. But on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she couldn’t guarantee that the American people will never hear the president uttering the n-word on an audio recording.
As for Jillette, he said he could emotionally – not factually – relay stories that “showed stupidity and lack of compassion” when he was in the room with Trump.
“I hate to say this, but playing tapes of him doing that job might be unfair. I want those tapes to be used against him, but it might be unfair,” he added.
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