Cohen’s book spotlights Trump’s Obama obsession and resurfaces ‘you’re fired’ video | US news

Donald Trump and his former attorney, Michael Cohen. Cohen’s memoir about Trump will be released on Tuesday. Photograph: AP

The impression of Donald Trump’s obsession with his predecessor Barack Obama was fueled by a video from 2012 resurfacing this weekend from a parody in which the now-Republican president mocks his Democratic rival.

Journalists dug up the clip after Michael Cohen, Trump’s disgraced former fixer, shared a photo of it taken from the film to promote his latest book.

In the book, Cohen alleges Trump had “hatred and contempt” for the former president, made racist outbursts, and was guilty of the same crimes that landed his former fixer in prison.

“Trump hired a ‘Faux-Bama’ to participate in a video in which Trump ‘ritualistically belittled the first black president and then fired him’,” Cohen’s book says. The apparent clip Cohen is describing shows Trump in Trump Tower in an office facing an unnamed Black man across a desk. It ends with an Apprentice-style “you’re fired”.

The clip is reported to have been looked at for possible inclusion in that year’s Republican convention, when Mitt Romney was nominated for president.

‘Trump hired a ‘Faux-Bama’ to participate in a video in which Trump ritualistically belittled the first black president and then fired him,’ Cohen’s book says. Photograph: Michael Cohen/Skyhorse

‘Trump hired a ‘Faux-Bama’ to participate in a video in which Trump ritualistically belittled the first black president and then fired him,’ Cohen’s book says. Photograph: Michael Cohen/Skyhorse

Both CNN and the Associated Press obtained an early copy of Cohen’s book.

“Tell me one country run by a black person that isn’t a shithole. They are all complete fucking toilets,” Cohen writes, attributing the comments to Trump following the former president’s election in 2008 – mirroring earlier reports he referred to African and Caribbean nations by the same insult.

Trump also supposedly denigrated South African anti-apartheid activist and former South Africa Nelson Mandela, claiming he “fucked the whole country up, and “now it’s a shithole”.

“Fuck Mandela. He was no leader,” Trump allegedly said.


Michael Cohen’s new book will be released on 8 September 2020.
Michael Cohen’s new book will be released on 8 September 2020. Photograph: AP

Trump has often insulted Obama, launching his political career by promoting the “birther” conspiracy theory that falsely claimed Obama was not born in the US. Before running for office, he first peddled a racist trope that the Columbia University and Harvard Law School graduate was only admitted into to the prestigious institutions on account of “fucking affirmative action”.

The book, to be released on Tuesday, is Cohen’s styled as a tell-all memoir that makes the case that Trump landed him in federal prison, offering a detailed account of the then-reality TV star’s alleged role in a hush money scandal during his campaign for president.

It is said to detail Trump’s history of racism and discrimination, including his alleged “low opinion of all black people”. While Cohen claimed to have never heard the president utter a racial epithet, he has not shied away from some of the foulest language in referencing Black people and Latinos.

Cohen wrote that when it came to their votes, then-candidate Trump had no interest in courting them. “Plus, I will never get the Hispanic vote,” Trump said, according to Cohen. “Like the blacks, they’re too stupid to vote for Trump. They’re not my people.”

Although some polls showed Trump has gained in popularity following last month’s Republican National Convention, Americans of color overwhelming oppose Trump. Hillary Clinton earned 91 and 66% of Black and Latino voters respectively in the 2016 presidential election.

The revelation echo charges from opponents of the president who insist he is racist.

“Trump hired a Black guy who looked like President Obama (a “Faux-Bama) to sit in front of his desk so Trump could insult him,” one analyst wrote. “Now that’s a level of racism that goes deep into Trump’s character.”

Trump later tweeted, dismissing the allegations as the latest attempt by Democrats, and “the corrupt Fake News Media.” to launch “a massive disinformation campaign”.

“They will say anything, like their recent lies about me and the military, and hope that it sticks,” he tweeted before adding that“MAGA gets it!” The White House also fired back at the accusations late Saturday, dismissing the president’s former personal aid as opportunist.

“Cohen is a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer, who lied to Congress,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement Saturday. “He has lost all credibility, and it’s unsurprising to see his latest attempt to profit off of lies.”

Critics also noted Cohen’s attempt to minimize his involvement in wrongdoing, claiming Trump is “guilty of the same crimes” for which Cohen first pleaded guilty. They include campaign finance violations, lying to Congress, and other crimes.

Instead, Cohen refers to himself as a “star witness” to a hush-money conspiracy that still could culminate in charges for Trump after he leaves office. The book, therefore, is a “fundamental piece of evidence” the guilt of an “organized crime don” and “master manipulator”.

Still, even as he directly accused Trump of being involved in his crimes, for which he pleaded guilty, Cohen still claimed to “care for Donald Trump, even to this day.

“I had and still have a lot of affection for him,” he wrote, “Donald Trump’s presidency is a product of the free press,” Cohen wrote. “Not free as in freedom of expression, I mean free as unpaid for. Rallies broadcast live, tweets, press conferences, idiotic interviews, 24-7 wall-to-wall coverage, all without spending a penny. The free press gave America Trump.”

Cohen has led a publicity blitz around his memoir even as he continues serving his federal sentence in home confinement. A federal judge ruled this summer that authorities had retaliated against him – sending him back to prison in upstate New York after he had been furloughed because of the coronavirus pandemic – for publishing the book ahead of the November election.

He was released to home confinement in July and the government lifted a ban on him speaking publicly.

Originally published: 2020-09-06 15:17:27

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