During Tuesday’s covid-19 press briefing, President Trump was asked to speak on the arrest and imprisonment of Ghislaine Maxwell, accused child molester and longtime associate of Jeffrey Epstein. Trump, predictably, fumbled.
While most headlines only highlight Trump saying that he “wishes her well,” the full quote is far more horrifying:
Steven Nelson of The New York Post: Ghislaine Maxwell is in prison, and a lot of people want to know if she’s going to turn in powerful people. And I know you’ve talked in the past about Prince Andrew, you’ve criticized Bill Clinton’s behavior... I’m wondering, do you feel she’s going to turn in powerful men? How do you see that working out.
Trump: I don’t know, I haven’t been following it too much. I just wish her well, frankly. I’ve met her numerous times over the years especially since I lived in Palm Beach and I guess they lived in Palm Beach. But I wish her well, whatever it is. I don’t know the situation with Prince Andrew, I just don’t know, not aware of it.
Maxwell, a British socialite who has been described as both Epstein’s girlfriend and financial partner, was arrested in early July on charges of aiding Epstein’s sex trafficking ring and lying during the Epstein investigation. She has also been accused of grooming teen girls for sexual assault and molestation, claims she denies despite multiple women coming forward and naming her as Epstein’s co-abuser.
Considering Trump’s love of so-called law and order, and the ease in which Trump decries politicians and public figures for far less than child molestation, it’s noteworthy that Trump refused to render Maxwell, his former friend, into an irredeemable monster. (Additionally, Trump has made reference to Prince Andrew and Epstein’s “pedophile island” in the past, so it’s safe to say he knew exactly what Nelson was alluding to).
Epstein and Maxwell rubbed elbows with the rich and famous—politicians, princes, powerful CEOs—including President Trump. One would imagine that Trump’s refusal to speak poorly of a woman who allegedly helped procure teen girls to be raped and abused by his powerful peers is bound to set off some alarm bells among the Trump-loving Pizzagaters and the QAnon crowd. But perhaps the conspiracy theorists will excuses for Trump’s message, like Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera managed to do Wednesday morning.
Rivera defended Trump’s well wishes to Maxwell, saying, “With media mob eager to see her lynched it was brave to weigh in.” He added that Maxwell deserved bail because the crimes she is alleged to have committed occurred more than 25 years ago.
Rivera hasn’t expressed much interest in prison abolitionism, but Maxwell appears to be a special case. Funny, that.