Michael Cohen has signaled recently in tweets and random comments to the media that he is no longer President Donald Trump’s most loyal defender. This continued in an interview with Vanity Fair that published Friday where he accused Trump of making racist remarks behind closed doors.
Cohen gave the interview Tuesday, the day of the first funerals for the victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. Explaining why Cohen came forward now, Vanity Fair noted “he knew that the president’s private comments were worse than his public rhetoric, and he wanted to offer potential voters what he believed was evidence of Trump’s character in advance of the midterm elections.”
Cohen recalled four instances where he was offended by the president’s racism: Once, when speaking about one of Trump’s campaign rallies in 2016: “I told Trump that the rally looked vanilla on television. Trump responded, ‘That’s because black people are too stupid to vote for me.'”
After Nelson Mandela’s death, Cohen remembered: “[Trump] said to me, ‘Name one country run by a black person that’s not a shithole,’ and then he added, ‘Name one city,'” This language echoes a line from January when Trump called Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations “shithole” countries.
When traveling with Trump through Chicago in the late 2000s, Cohen said Trump remarked: “We were going from the airport to the hotel, and we drove through what looked like a rougher neighborhood. Trump made a comment to me, saying that only the blacks could live like this.”
Finally, Cohen said he and Trump were talking about Trump’s decision to fire Bill Rancic or Kwame Jackson on The Apprentice: “Trump was explaining his back-and-forth about not picking Jackson. He said, ‘There’s no way I can let this black fag win.'”
Regardless of what you think of Michael Cohen, many things Trump has done publicly in the past lend credibility to his accusations. The president has a long history of racism, as Rolling Stone has written about before.
Rachel Maddow on Friday ran a segment on Cohen’s remarks and pointed out a pattern in the way Trump insults black Americans, noting that the president calls them either: dumb, low IQ, unintelligent, unqualified or criminal.
“That’s basically everything that he says about prominent African Americans who he targets,” Maddow concluded.