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Tom Arnold: ‘Watergate-level’ reporters digging into infamous Trump tapes

The tape mystery continues.


Samantha Grasso


Posted on Dec 27, 2016   Updated on May 25, 2021, 7:52 am CDT

Is there such thing as a president-elect equivalent of the “October surprise?” Because if so, one comedian allegedly has his finger on the trigger.

Earlier this month, talk of the infamous “Trump tapes” resurfaced when actor and comedian Tom Arnold told a Seattle radio show that he’s in possession of old Apprentice footage in which then-host, now President-elect Donald Trump allegedly used racist and sexist slurs. Then on Christmas Day, Arnold posted a Twitter thread directed at actor Michael Rapaport that detailed why they haven’t been released.

This is the first time the “tapes” subject has majorly resurfaced since Trump won the 2016 election. Coverage of the Trump tapes initially spiked after the Washington Post published a 2005 Access Hollywood audio recording of Trump saying he can do anything he wants to women because of his fame, such as “grab them by the pussy.” 

Amid reporting of the original hot-mic recording were rumors that footage “far worse” existed, including tapes of Trump using the N-word. However, the release of such footage appeared compromised by lawsuit threats and preexisting confidentiality agreements. 

Though a former producer from the reality television series and other TV executives acknowledged the existence of such footage, no one came forward at the time. Even entrepreneur Mark Cuban‘s offer to pay the $5 million leak fee for the tapes didn’t help the discovery process, nor did a GoFundMe campaign aimed to unearth the footage.

During Arnold’s interview with KIRO Radio, however, the entertainer revealed his possession of the tapes while discussing the new Apprentice host, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. In his admission, Arnold said he’s known Trump for 30 years and has Apprentice outtakes in which the president-elect has said “every bad thing ever, every dirty, offensive, racist thing ever.” Arnold’s admission went as follows:

“I’ll tell you why [the footage hasn’t been leaked]. Because when the people sent it to me, it was funny. Hundreds of people have seen these. It was sort of a Christmas video they put together. He wasn’t going to be President of the United States. It was him sitting in that chair saying the N-word, saying the C-word, calling his son a retard, just being so mean to his own children. ‘Oh, this is so funny, this is this guy.’ The Sunday before the election, I get a call from Arnold’s CAA agent, sitting next to Hillary Clinton. They said, ‘I need you to release him saying the N-word.’ I said, ‘Well, now these people—two editors and an associate producer—are scared to death. They’re scared of his people, they’re scared of they’ll never work again, there’s a $5 million confidentiality agreement.’”

The evening after the interview aired, Arnold tweeted that Trump’s people had threatened a suit against him, though a source familiar with the situation told Mediaite that Trump’s camp wasn’t behind the alleged call.

Days later Arnold expanded upon the footage in a 14-part Twitter thread directed at Rapaport that also mentioned Russia, a playmate girlfriend, and the alt-right.

The following day Rapaport addressed a conversation that he and Arnold had about the tapes.

At least we can rest easy knowing that with less than a month until the president-elect’s inauguration, this alleged tape scandal is far from finished.

Representatives for Arnold and Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

H/T Death and Taxes

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*First Published: Dec 27, 2016, 4:46 pm CST