When she heard the comments, Vanity Fair reporter Emily Jane Fox said her "jaw dropped to the floor."
President Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen has gone public with his accounting of private conversations with his former client that contained outlandish racist comments, including one in which Trump announced in 2016 that black people were "too stupid" to vote for him.
In interviews with Fox that began earlier this week, Cohen said his urge to speak out about some of the things Trump said to him privately over recent years were spurred by the rise of politically-motivated violence—including last week's massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh—which he associates with the national tone set by the president.
"When I asked him why he was coming forward now with such uncomfortable claims," Fox reports, "Cohen was clear: 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."
NEW: With the midterms days away, and President Trump ratcheting up his rhetoric, Michael Cohen detailed instances to me in which he said his former boss privately used chilling, racist language https://t.co/3PnhnoHKfA— Emily Jane Fox (@emilyjanefox) November 2, 2018
According to the Vanity Fair story, published Friday:
During our conversation, Cohen recalled a discussion at Trump Tower, following the then-candidate’s return from a campaign rally during the 2016 election cycle. Cohen had watched the rally on TV and noticed that the crowd was largely Caucasian. He offered this observation to his boss. “I told Trump that the rally looked vanilla on television. Trump responded, ‘That’s because black people are too stupid to vote for me.’” (The White House did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)
This conversation, he noted, was reminiscent of an exchange that the two men had engaged in years earlier, after Nelson Mandela's death. "[Trump] said to me, 'Name one country run by a black person that's not a shithole,' and then he added, 'Name one city,'" Cohen recalled, a statement that echoed the president's alleged comments about African nations earlier this year. (White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied those comments at the time. She added that "no one here is going to pretend like the president is always politically correct—he isn't." She subsequently noted that it was "one of the reasons the American people love him.")
That wasn't all:
4 racist things Trump has said, per Michael Cohen:— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) November 2, 2018
-"Black people are too stupid to vote for me."
-"Name 1 country run by a black person that’s not a shithole."
-"Only the blacks could live like this."
-"There’s no way I can let this black f-ing win."https://t.co/hABkB09eSO
Fox reports that she reached out repeatedly to the White House for comment, but received no response.
While nobody will be surprised that the demonstrably racist president likely said much worse and explicitly racist things in private than he did in public, the new story nonetheless sparked outrage as the sinister and hateful details emerged on Friday afternoon:
In retrospect, according to her reporting, Cohen told Fox that he wished he had quit the Trump Organization after hearing such offensive comments. "I should have been a bigger person, and I should have left," Cohen said.
Of course, the reality is this: Cohen did not.