Trump addresses Jeffrey Epstein connection, claims the two haven't spoken in 15 years after a 'falling out'
Corbis via Getty Images/Associated Press
- President Donald Trump addressed questions over his past praise of Jeffrey Epstein, a New York financier now facing charges from federal prosecutors of sex trafficking and conspiracy.
- Trump told reporters that he and Epstein had a "falling out" and that the two haven't spoken in 15 years.
- Trump told New York Magazine in 2002 that Epstein was "a terrific guy" who liked women "on the younger side," which has raised questions about the extent of their friendship.
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President Donald Trump addressed questions Tuesday in the Oval Office about his friendship with wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender currently facing federal charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy."Well I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him," Trump said. "He was a fixture of Palm Beach. I had a falling out with him a long time ago, I don't think I've spoken to him for 15 years. I wasn't a fan."Advertisement
Trump told New York Magazine in 2002 that Epstein was "a terrific guy" and "a lot of fun to be with." His comments have received additional scrutiny after Epstein's arrest, since Trump also noted that Epstein liked women "on the younger side."Evidence of the extent of Trump's relationship with Epstein shows the two were close, in at least some capacity. Epstein's "black book," where he kept contact information for his associates, contained 14 phone numbers for Trump, who also attended dinner parties at Epstein's homes and used his private jet at least once, according to court documents said to be reviewed by BuzzFeed News.
Over the years, Trump has denied having a close relationship with Epstein, such as in 2015, when a spokesperson said: "Mr. Trump only knew Mr. Epstein as Mr. Trump owns the hottest and most luxurious club in Palm Beach, [redacted], and Mr. Epstein would go there on occasion."One of Epstein's accusers said she was recruited for his sex trafficking operation in 1999 at Mar-a-Lago, where she worked as a locker room attendant, according to documents filed in a 2015 civil suit. She alleged that when she was 15-years-old that Epstein's former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell approached her at Trump's Palm Beach resort and enticed her to give Epstein a massage, which escalated into the financier allegedly sexually assaulting her. Advertisement
Lawyer Brad Edwards, who represented some of Epstein's alleged victims and sued Epstein himself, said in court documents that he'd heard from a source that Trump banned Epstein from Mar-a-Lago for assaulting an underage girl.
Later, Edwards disavowed the claim, since he had no independent knowledge of the ban, and sources related to the incident could not confirm whether Trump banned Epstein at any point.Trump also addressed calls for his Labor Secretary, Alex Acosta, to step down. In 2008, Acosta worked as a federal prosecutor in Miami and signed a secret plea deal that allowed Epstein to avoid federal prosecution that has since been ruled unconstitutional. Advertisement
"I felt very badly, actually, for Secretary Acosta, because I've known him as being somebody who works so hard, and has done such a good job," Trump said. "I feel very badly about that whole situation, but we're going to be looking at that very closely."
- Read more:
- Everything we know about Trump's connection to financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was charged with sex trafficking
- Trump's labor secretary who previously cut a plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein says his alleged crimes 'are horrific' amid calls for him to resign
- The famous connections of Jeffrey Epstein, the elite wealth manager charged with sex trafficking young girls
- Nancy Pelosi calls for Labor Secretary Alex Acosta's resignation over deal cut for Jeffrey Epstein
Trump tries to backtrack on his characterization of Jeffrey Epstein as "a terrific guy," now says "I don't think I've spoken to him in 15 years. I wasn't a fan." pic.twitter.com/iX1awN0z0I- Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 9, 2019