Steve Pope/Getty; Mike Theiler-Pool/Getty President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama
In his new book, Trump’s former longtime attorney Michael Cohen describes “a kind of fantasy fulfillment” that President Donald Trump once played out by hiring a President Barack Obama impersonator for an Apprentice-style video the reality show star reportedly filmed for the 2012 Republican National Convention.
The video has been online since at least January 2013, but the new details about Trump’s desire to make the RNC clip has caused it to resurface in the media after Cohen wrote about it in his memoir, Disloyal, which comes out Tuesday.
According to a report by The New York Times, Cohen, 54, describes how Trump hired “a Faux-Bama, or fake Obama, to record a video where Trump ritualistically belittled the first Black president and then fired him, a kind of fantasy fulfillment that it was hard to imagine any adult would spend serious money living out — until he did the functional equivalent in the real world.”
Trump, 74, largely built his political profile ahead of the 2016 election by continuously pushing a false conspiracy theory that claimed Obama, 59, wasn’t born in the U.S.
Trump has repeatedly attacked his Democratic predecessor throughout his presidency by promoting other baseless conspiracy theories about Obama and the former administration, while routinely insulting the former president and his administration’s members.
Cohen’s book has also made headlines ahead of its release because of new details that Trump’s once self-described “fixer” reportedly shares about the president’s racist remarks towards Black people, including prominent world leaders like Obama and late South African President Nelson Mandela.
“As a rule, Trump expressed low opinions of all Black folks, from music to culture and politics,” Cohen reportedly writes.
Cohen says that Trump once allegedly said: “Tell me one country run by a Black person that isn’t a s—hole.”
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany disputed the content of Cohen’s book in a statement to PEOPLE. “Michael Cohen is a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer, who lied to Congress,” McEnany said. “He has lost all credibility, and it’s unsurprising to see his latest attempt to profit off of lies.”
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MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Michael Cohen testifying to Congress in 2019
In the tell-all’s forward, Cohen describes Trump as “a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man.”
Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to crimes including tax evasion, lying to Congress about Trump’s prior business dealings with Russia, and illegal “hush money” he paid during the 2016 presidential election to buy the silence of porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal — who both claim they had affairs with Trump.
Cohen was released from federal prison in May due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently serving the rest of his sentence under house arrest at his Manhattan apartment.
Trump’s former personal attorney was briefly brought back to federal prison in early July after he refused to sign documents promising not to release his tell-all about Trump, but a federal judge ordered he be re-released, saying, according to the Times, that the move was a retaliatory action by the federal government in response to his plans to release the book.
In the book, Cohen goes on to describe himself as “one of Trump’s bad guys” while portraying the president as a mob boss-like figure. Cohen also writes about his payments to Daniels during the 2016 election, the Times reports.