WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Donald Trump echoed the sentiments of outrage expressed by many in response to racist remarks allegedly made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, but adding that the woman who recorded the conversation is “the girlfriend from hell.”
Speaking with Fox News on Monday, Trump called Sterling’s comments “despicable,” referencing the 15-minute conversation with then-girlfriend V. Stiviano in which the Clippers owner made several disparaging comments toward African-Americans. However, Trump added that while Sterling’s comments deserved punishment, he said the Clippers owner was set-up by his “very bad girlfriend.”
“He got set up by a very, very bad girlfriend, let’s face it,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” of Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
“She’s called the girlfriend from hell, but what he said was terrible and despicable and very strong action is going to be taken. There’s no question about it,” Trump said of Sterling’s girlfriend. “She’s a terrible human being and he gave horrible answers and disgusting answers.”
Trump also called into question the mental state of Sterling, saying that he “seems close to incompetent.”
“I think he could be out of it, frankly, based on his actions,” Trump said. “He could be pretty much out of it in terms of his whole mentality.”
President Barack Obama also joined in the chorus of those denouncing Sterling’s comments, saying he’s “confident” that the NBA will appropriately deal with the “incredibly offensive racist statements.”
“The owner is reported to have said some incredibly offensive racist statements that were published. I don’t think I have to interpret those statements for you; they kind of speak for themselves,” Obama said at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Sunday.
The Clippers responded to the reported remarks, saying in a statement to TMZ that the tape may not be “legitimate,” and that the audio is “the antithesis of who he is.”
The Clippers organization tells TMZ Sports, “We have heard the tape on TMZ. We do not know if it is legitimate or it has been altered.”
The statement continues: “We do know that the woman on the tape — who we believe released it to TMZ — is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family, alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would ‘get even.'”
— Benjamin Fearnow