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

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

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.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate