FILE PHOTO: Michael Cohen, former attorney to US President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment to report to the jail in Manhattan, New York, USA, May 6, 2019. REUTERS / Jeenah Moon TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY / File photo
By Jason Lange
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Michael Cohen, former personal attorney to US President Donald Trump, says in a new book that Trump has made disparaging remarks about black world leaders including former South African President Nelson Mandela, as well as minorities. Americans in general, the Washington Post reported Saturday.
Cohen worked closely with Trump for years before turning against him, most publicly in testimony to Congress last year before Trump’s impeachment.
Now Cohen is serving a three-year sentence, among other things, for making false statements to Congress. In a book due to be published next week, Cohen argues that Trump described Mandela as a poor leader, according to the Washington Post which reported obtaining a copy of the book.
According to the newspaper, Cohen wrote that after Mandela’s death in 2013, Trump said: “Mandela shocked the whole country. Now it’s like … hole. F … Mandela. He was not a leader. ”
Cohen also claimed that Trump said, “Tell me a country run by a person of color that isn’t like that – hole. They are all f … full toilets. ”
White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany responded by attacking Cohen’s credibility.
“Michael Cohen is a disgraced criminal and a banned attorney who lied to Congress. He has lost all credibility, and it’s not surprising to see his latest attempt to profit from the lies, ”McEnany said in a statement.
Trump called Cohen “a rat” and a liar, and Cohen said he faced repeated death threats from Trump supporters.
Trump, a Republican, is seeking re-election and will face Democrat Joe Biden at the polls on November 3. At the Republican convention in August, where Trump was formally nominated to appear in the ballot, speakers defended Trump from past allegations of racism.
Cohen said Trump was dismissive of minorities and that Trump said during his 2016 presidential campaign that he would not win the Hispanic vote, the Washington Post reported. According to Cohen, Trump said: “Like blacks, they’re too stupid to vote for Trump.”
Cohen is serving time for tax evasion, misrepresentation, and campaign financing violations, the latest relating to payments to silence women who denounced relations with Trump prior to the 2016 presidential election.
He was released in solitary confinement in May due to the risks of catching COVID-19 in prison, but was then briefly re-imprisoned in July. A federal judge then ruled that Cohen had been subjected to retaliation for planning to publish his book and ordered him to be released again.
Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore