President Trump’s niece Mary L. Trump said Thursday that she heard her uncle use the n-word and anti-Semitic slurs.
Maddow pressed her on comments made to The Washington Post on Wednesday in which Mary Trump said the president is “clearly racist” and described growing up in a family of “knee-jerk” racism. Maddow asked whether that was a generalization about her family’s casual bigotry or if she’d actually heard her uncle use racist language.
“Oh yeah, of course I did,” Mary Trump said. “And I don’t think that should surprise anybody given how virulently racist he is today.”
Mary Trump then confirmed that she’d heard the president use the n-word and anti-Semitic slurs.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Matthews rebutted Mary Trump’s allegation.
“This is a book of falsehoods, plain and simple,” Matthews said in an emailed statement. “The President doesn’t use those words.”
Mary Trump, 55, has long been estranged from her family following a dispute over inheritance, among other things. Her book — published Tuesday and an instant bestseller — so worried her family that the president’s brother unsuccessfully tried to block its publication in court. Her father, Fred Jr. — the president’s older brother — died of an alcohol-related illness in 1981, when she was 16 years old.
Since the 2016 campaign there have been claims that Trump used the n-word on the set of his television show, “The Apprentice.” Bill Pruitt, an original producer on the reality show, first hinted at it in October 2016, claiming there were tapes of Trump using “far worse” language than was heard on the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump is heard boasting about grabbing women by their genitals.
The allegation resurfaced in 2018 in a book written by former Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault Newman after she was fired from her job as communications director of the White House Office of Public Liaison. In the book, she claims several people have corroborated hearing tapes of the president using the n-word behind the scenes on the show.
In an August 2018 tweet, Trump denied using “such a terrible and disgusting word,” adding, “I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have.”
In 2019, Pruitt contributed to an oral history about Trump and shared his recollection of hearing Trump use the n-word. Others from the show have said it wasn’t true, and no tapes have ever surfaced.
The latest allegation from Mary Trump comes at a time of national reckoning over America’s racist history. When the mostly peaceful protests against racial injustice erupted across the country after the death of George Floyd — some of them descending into looting and violence at night — President Trump characterized them broadly as an “angry mob” and has sought to preserve public Confederate symbols.
The president’s use of divisive, race-baiting language has been a fixture of his politics since the day he announced his candidacy, when he called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and criminals. In 2017, when neo-Nazis descended on Charlottesville, Trump struggled to condemn them.
The president also has been accused of using anti-Semitic tropes, such as claiming on several occasions that wealthy Jewish people use financial contributions to control politicians. In 2016, Trump faced backlash when he tweeted a photo of Hillary Clinton’s face with a red six-pointed star, resembling the Star of David, over piles of cash.
In the Maddow interview, Mary Trump also slammed her uncle’s response to the coronavirus, saying that “he is dividing us at the expense of people’s lives.” She then gave a dire forecast for the country if President Trump is reelected in November.
“I absolutely believe [it] would be the end of the American experiment,” she said. “I do not believe there’s any coming back from this.”