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Trump and the N-word: His fans wouldn’t mind if he said it

Omarosa Manigault Newman (left) with then-presidential hopeful Donald Trump in 2015. | Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Omarosa Manigault-Newman should never have been allowed to breathe Situation Room air, and that she did, while jeopardizing national security, is a sad and frightening testament to the Trump administration’s utter lack of seriousness from its conception.

And now, the President is paying the price for hiring some of the worst people to work for him: An unqualified, backbiting and dishonest former employee is waging a public relations war.

I have no idea if what Manigault-Newman is alleging Trump did or said is true. It’s all plausible — would anyone be shocked to learn a man who has openly, publicly called women, Mexicans, immigrants, journalists, foreigners and his enemies abhorrent names also used the worst word imaginable in private at some point?

That’s not to say it isn’t deeply disturbing to conjure it. And suffice it to say, to actually hear Trump use the N-word, in context, on tape might indeed trigger a collapse of support for his presidency. But don’t get too excited; it would likely only happen among establishment Republicans who remember the party is supposed to be embarrassed by rank racism, and only temporarily, until Trump is needed to win an important election in a district that, you know, appreciates that sort of thing.

Considering his administration was caught literally ripping infants out of the arms of their mothers to prove a political point, predictions that this controversy will be the one that does him in are sadly little more than wishful thinking.


Lawfare Executive Editor Susan Hennessey tweeted, “I’m going to make a prediction that may be naive and might be proven wrong soon enough. But I honestly believe that if a tape of the President saying the N-word is made public, he will be forced to resign or at a minimum not run for reelection.”

Brian Beutler writes for Crooked Media that “Trump is right to be scared of an N-word tape,” because “millions of Americans believe racism only describes people who use forbidden slurs in casual conversation. Hearing Trump do that would, as a matter of almost mathematical certainty, be a turning point for some of them, and Trump can’t really afford to lose even a small sliver of his remaining support.”

To be clear, this tape may not exist. Trump is denying it, and former Trump allies are, too. Corey Lewandowski told Fox News “I have never heard the President use that word ever.”

Katrina Pierson has made several statements, many contradictory, but that nonetheless plant the seed that the source is corrupt: “The reason Omarosa is facing a wrath of contradiction is because she can’t keep her lies straight,” she said, with little sense of irony.

But if the tape does ever materialize, it’s fair to say with certainty that Trump will suffer no real consequences for it. There are a few reasons why.

Two groups of voters — those who don’t care and those who don’t mind — will help keep Trump afloat.

Plenty of Trump supporters made an early calculation that whatever he says or does that is otherwise loathsome is an acceptable bargain if he also restores jobs, nominates the right judges, lowers taxes or builds the wall. They won’t care.

Plenty of other Trump supporters voted for him because they saw him as a protector of white America, whether through rhetoric or policy. They won’t mind.

And, as I said, the GOP has shown little moral fortitude beyond milquetoast denouncements of Trump here and there. Why would that change now?

Of course, we should continue to denounce the indefensible, lament the lamentable and hope for some kind of awakening of conscience. But that hope is based on exactly zero past evidence, unfortunately.

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