Trump Again Hypes the Clinton-Epstein Conspiracy Theory—and His Fans Are Loving It

“The question you have to ask is, did Bill Clinton go to the island?”

Cheriss Ma/ZUMA

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President Donald Trump emerged from vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Tuesday and immediately resumed fueling unfounded conspiracy theories connecting the Clinton family to Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced financier who died of an apparent suicide in a Manhattan jail cell on Saturday.

While he said that he didn’t know for certain whether the Clintons were behind Epstein’s death, Trump seized on reporters’ questions to launch into theories about the number of times former President Bill Clinton flew on Epstein’s private jet.

“Bill Clinton, who was a very good friend of Epstein’s, he was on the plane about 27 or 28 times,” Trump told reporters, a clear nod to the baseless accusations surrounding the Clintons in the wake of Epstein’s death. “So why did he say four times?”

He continued with a reference to a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein. “The question you have to ask is, did Bill Clinton go to the island?” he asked. The FBI raided the island, which locals reportedly nicknamed “pedophile island,” on Monday.

“That was not a good place, as I understand it,” Trump said. “But I was never there.”

The remarks come two days after Trump retweeted a conspiracy theory implicating the Clintons in Epstein’s sudden death, which included the hashtags #ClintonBodyCount and #ClintonCrimeFamily. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Trump defended the retweet, claiming that it was first posted by a “highly respected conservative pundit.” There is no evidence that Terrence K. Williams, the owner of the account Trump retweeted on Saturday, is prominent in conservative groups. His Twitter bio describes himself as an “Actor. Comedian. Commentator.”

Moments after Trump’s press gaggle on Tuesday, Williams tweeted, “I can’t wait to meet you Mr. President.”

The president’s efforts to align his political enemies with Epstein—who last month had been indicted on federal charges of sex trafficking minors, some as young as 14—could also be viewed as an attempt to distance himself from the billionaire. The two men were known to socialize together in Palm Beach, Florida, and Trump once praised Epstein as “terrific.”

Newly unsealed documents show that Trump flew on Epstein’s private plane at least once in 1997. In a statement following Epstein’s indictment last month, a spokesman for Clinton said that the former president had flown on Epstein’s airplane four times. Trump appears to have gotten the “27 or 28” number from conservative news sites.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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