In a new interview with Vulture, magician Penn Jillette essentially backs up Omarosa Manigault-Newman’s (and others’) claim that Apprentice producer Mark Burnett is sitting on a recording of Donald Trump using racial slurs.
After going on and on for several paragraphs about magic tricks for for some reason, Penn gets to the question everyone wants answered: Is Donald Trump a repugnant racist bigot with the intelligence of dryer lint, or a repugnant racist bigot with the intelligence of dryer lint who was also caught on tape using the n-word?
And now we have even more evidence that it’s the latter:
Does Mark Burnett have tapes of President Trump saying damaging things during Celebrity Apprentice??
Yeah, I was in the room.
You’ve heard him say …
Can you tell me what you’ve heard him say?
No. 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. What I do, as much as anything, is I’m a storyteller. And storytellers are liars. So I can emotionally tell you things that happened racially, sexually, and that showed stupidity and lack of compassion when I was in the room with Donald Trump and I guarantee you that I will get details wrong. I would not feel comfortable talking about what I felt I saw in that room — because when I was on that show I was sleeping four to five hours a night. I was uncomfortable. “Stress” is the wrong word, but I was not at my best. Then at the end of a day, they put you in a room and they bring out a guy [Trump] who has no power whatsoever and he’s capricious and petty and …
You’ve got to pretend to care what he thinks.
Yeah! It’s your job. You sit at this table and this man rambles — pontificates is giving him too much credit. And because you live in the modern world you’ve heard Trump ramble. But you’ve heard Trump ramble when he thinks he’s being careful. Imagine when he feels he can be frank. And I will tell you things, but I will very conscientiously not give you quotations because I believe that would be morally wrong. I’m not trying to protect myself. This really is a moral thing.
But while Penn is reticent to go on record about the specific things Trump has said, he’s clear on a couple of points: Trump is a racially insensitive buffoon who also happens to be a shitty president:
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 ten minutes was fingernails on chalkboard. He would ask one cast member if he’d rather have sex with this woman or that woman.
But isn’t there enough of an established behavioral pattern with President Trump that tapes of him saying racially or sexually demeaning things maybe fits into the larger context of who he is and what he thinks?
That is fair. But I can’t stress this enough: I do not respect Donald Trump. Don Junior said — and I’m proud of this — that of everybody who had been on Celebrity Apprentice, I was the one who enjoyed it the most. By the way, I didn’t enjoy it. And I was also the one who liked his father the most. Don Junior said to me, “Why do you like him so much?” And I said, “I made a movie called The Aristocrats. I like people when they don’t have filters. I like Tiny Tim. I like Bob Dylan. I like Neil Young. I like Sun Ra. I love the Beat poets. Which means if I’m in a room with Trump I’m happy to hear him talk. But I’m also happy to hear Charlie Manson talk. I have nothing good to say about Donald Trump as president.
If that’s the best someone can say about you — you’re as interesting as Charles Manson — you might want to reevaluate your life.
If only Trump were actually capable of doing that.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.