Twitter has erupted into a hive of conspiracy theories after political commentators blasted President Donald Trump for supporting suspected sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell.
Trump admitted meeting Maxwell ‘numerous times’ over the years and said he ‘hadn’t been following it too much’ but that he ‘wishes her well’ during his coronavirus press briefing at the White House.
‘I just wish her well frankly,’ he said Tuesday night, during his first coronavirus press briefing back since a dramatic rise in the number of US coronavirus cases.
It comes after Maxwell, 58, cried as she was denied bail on Tuesday and learned she must stay locked up until her trial next summer, after she pleaded not guilty to charges of luring underage girls so her ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein could sexually abuse them.
Following the press conference political commentators took to Twitter to try to make sense of what had motivated Trump to wish the suspected ‘madam’ well.
YouTuber Luke Rudkowski tweeted: ‘Why would you wish a child trafficker well? I mean what am I missing here.’
Brian Tyler Cohen tweeted: ‘I know we’re all freaking out about Trump complimenting sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell but consider for a second *why* Trump might have a vested interest in publicly saying nice things about her. …There you go.’
One of Mr Cohen’s followers replied: ‘Is Trump hinting at quid pro quo pardon for silence (is Ghislane being charged federally or at the state level?), or is he “subtlety” threatening she’ll end up like Epstein, or just trying to appear supportive so if she ends up mysteriously dead he has a tiny bit of deniability?’
Another Twitter user added: ‘Devastating ‘tell’ from Trump to wish Maxwell well. Why wish well to someone who stands accused in an American court of facilitating the rape of children. He couldn’t possibly know she is innocent unless he spent every second with her. He could only know if she is guilty.’
The president admitted meeting Jeffrey Epstein’s accused madam Ghislaine Maxwell ‘numerous times’ over the years and wished her well in his Tuesday press conference (pictured)
Following the press conference political commentators took to Twitter to try to make sense of what had motivated Trump to wish the suspected ‘madam’ well
Donald Trump has sent a message of support to Ghislaine Maxwell as she awaits her trial for sex trafficking minors. Pictured the president, with First Lady Melania Trump, Epstein and Maxwell at Mar-a-Lago in 2000 (left) and Trump and Maxwell together at the Anand Jon Fashion Show in September 2000 in New York City (right)
Another added: ‘Yesterday trump press conference was only held to serve one purpose it was trump’s signal to Ghislaine Maxwell to not talk and he will protect her because he know she can bury him
‘Others Tweeted to express their shock and surprise over Trump’s support of Maxwell.’
Bakari Sellers, 35, tweeted ‘the president can wish Ghislaine Maxwell well but can’t say Black Lives Matter. Wild.’
Lawyer Joyce Alene tweeted: ‘Trump says he wishes Ghislaine Maxwell, charged with sex trafficking minor girls, well.’
In a second tweet, Mr Cohen, added: ‘”I wish her well,” Trump says of Ghislaine Maxwell, who helped Jeffrey Epstein traffic and rape dozens of underage girls over the course of years.’
Another, Tony Schwartz, tweeted: ‘Highlight of news conference for me: Trump wishes Ghislane Maxwell well, the pedophile compatriot of Jeffrey Epstein. In one sentence, tells you everything you need to know about Trump.’
Trump’s connections to Epstein and Maxwell have long come under scrutiny as they mixed in the same wealthy circles for decades, with Trump once describing the convicted pedophile as a ‘terrific guy’.
‘I’ve met her numerous times over the years especially since I lived in Palm Beach and I guess they lived in Palm Beach,’ he said of Maxwell during the briefing last night.
Trump then reinforced his well-wishes for Maxwell and said he doesn’t know about the ‘situation’ with Prince Andrew.
‘But I wish her well whatever it is,’ he said. ‘I don’t know the situation with Prince Andrew. I don’t know, I’m just not aware of it.’
One of Epstein’s victims Virginia Roberts Giuffre claims she was coerced into having sex with the Prince Andrew as a 17-year-old – claims the prince strongly denies.
Following the press conference other political commentators took to Twitter to express their surprise over Trump’s support of Maxwell
Epstein’s sprawling waterfront property in Palm Beach, where many of his victims said they were lured to and sexually abused, is just 1.8 miles down the road from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club where the two men partied and Epstein is accused of procuring victims from
Trump, Melania, Epstein and Maxwell pose together at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach in February 2000 (right) and Trump and Maxwell at the Gucci Envy Perfume Launch Benefit For Cancer Patients in New York City in 1997 (left)
In 2002, Trump heaped praise on Epstein calling him a ‘terrific guy’ who likes women ‘on the younger side’. Pictured Trump and Epstein at Mar-a-Lago in 1997 (left) and at a 1992 party (right)
Social media users voiced their shock and outrage that the president would wish a suspected child sex trafficker ‘well’.
‘WTAF?!? What does that mean? Wish her well?!? In what way? Less prison time? Or get off scot free and welcome her to one of your golf clubs?’ tweeted tennis star Martina Navratilova.
Political commentator Mr Schwartz went on to compare Trump’s comments to his previous support of Roger Stone.
The political operative’s 40-month prison sentence for lying to operatives and witness tampering in the Robert Mueller-led probe into Russia meddling on the 2016 election was commuted by Trump on July 10.
‘Ghislane Maxwell is Trump’s newest Roger Stone. She has the goods on Trump’s relationship with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Is there any doubt she has a hideous story to tell?’ Schwartz tweeted.
Amansa Carpenter, author and former senior staffer to Senators Jim DeMint and Ted Cruz, slammed the president’s comments saying: ‘For those following: The correct answer to the question about whether Maxwell will turn in powerful men should have been “I hope she cooperates fully so all those who have abused women and children are brought to justice.” Not “I wish her well.”‘
Trump knew Epstein and Maxwell for decades, running in the same elite social circles in Florida and New York in the 1980s and 1990s before the pedophile’s fall from grace.
Epstein’s sprawling waterfront property in Palm Beach, where many of his victims said they were lured to and sexually abused, is just 1.8 miles down the road from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club.
In 1992, the future president organized a ‘calendar girls’ party with 28 women, with Epstein and himself the only men, according to Vanity Fair.
The two men were also seen on recently surfaced video footage partying together that year at Mar-a-Lago with cheerleaders from the Buffalo Bills.
In the footage, Trump is heard saying: ‘Look at her… she’s hot.’
In 1997, Trump also flew from Palm Beach to Newark, New Jersey, on Epstein’s plane with Maxwell also aboard.
Now famous photos taken at Mar-a-Lago show the president posing with future First Lady Melania Trump, Epstein and Maxwell later in February 2000.
Maxwell and Epstein in 2005. Maxwell, 58, was denied bail last Tuesday and learned she must stay locked up until her sex trafficking trial in summer 2021
Maxwell is currently in custody in the Metropolitan Detention Center (pictured) in Brooklyn where she has been given paper clothes to prevent her from committing suicide
Trump heaped praise on Epstein back then calling him a ‘terrific guy’ who likes women ‘on the younger side’.
‘He’s a lot of fun to be with,’ Trump said in an interview with Vanity Fair in 2002.
‘It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.’
THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST MAXWELL
- Conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts (5 years max sentence)
- Enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts (20 years)
- Conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity (20 years)
- Transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity (10 years minimum, life maximum)
- X 2 counts of Perjury (x 10 years)
Prosecutors say Maxwell groomed three girls between 1994 and 1997 for Epstein.
They are not named in the indictment, but she allegedly targeted them in London, Florida, New York and New Mexico.
Maxwell, it is alleged, would befriend the girls by asking them about their life and their schooling. She would put them at ease by taking them to the movies and taking them shopping, winning their trust to later deliver them to Epstein, it’s alleged.
To ‘normalize’ the abuse that would come later, prosecutors say she undressed in front of the girls herself and asked them sexual questions.
She then not only facilitated Epstein abusing them, prosecutors say, but took part in some of it herself.
The alleged sex abuse includes ‘sexualized group massages’.
The indictment also says Maxwell made the girl feel ‘indebted’ to Epstein by encouraging them to take money from him and let him pay for their education and travel.
Trump and Epstein reportedly fell out around 2004, in a dispute over a property purchase.
Four years later in 2018, Epstein pleaded guilty to one count of solicitation of prostitution and one count of solicitation of prostitution with a minor under the age of 18 and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.
The president has since sought to distance himself from Epstein and downplay his relationship with the pedophile.
One month before Epstein died in a New York jail cell in August last year, Trump said he was ‘not a fan’.
‘I had a falling out with him. I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years,’ Trump said at a White House press conference.
‘I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you.’
Some of Epstein’s victims have mentioned Trump and Mar-a-Lago in their accounts of events surrounding the abuse.
The president is mentioned in a civil suit filed by an unnamed woman who is suing Epstein’s estate.
The alleged Epstein victim claims her abuser took her to Mar-a-Lago when she was just 14 and showed her to Trump.
She claims Epstein elbowed Trump ‘playfully’ and said: ‘This is a good one, right?’
There is no suggestion Trump knew she was underage or was involved in any abuse.
Roberts Guiffre claims Epstein used Mar-a-Lago to prey on and recruit young girls into his sex-trafficking operation.
She claims she first met the pedophile as a 15-year-old working as a locker room attendant at Mar-a-Lago in 1999.
Newly resurfaced footage from 2015 also shows Trump telling reporters to ask Prince Andrew about Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘pedophile island’.
In in an interview with Bloomberg, Trump said: ‘That island was really a cesspool, there’s no question about it.
‘Just ask Prince Andrew, he’ll tell you about it. The island was an absolute cesspool.’
The connections between the pedophile and the president ramped up last month when Attorney General Bill Barr said Trump had ordered him to fire Geoffrey S. Berman, United States attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Berman’s office charged Epstein with child sex trafficking last year.
Epstein was found hanging in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan last August.
His death was ruled a suicide but his attorneys and some family members claim he was murdered to stop him from sharing what he knows about other high profile, powerful people.
Maxwell was denied bail last Tuesday and learned she must stay locked up until her sex trafficking trial in summer 2021.
She is now being held in a Brooklyn jail and pleaded not guilty last week to trafficking minors for Epstein.
Maxwell had been lying low since Epstein’s death last year but was arrested earlier in the month, when authorities swooped on her luxury home in New Hampshire where prosecutors say she was hiding out.
She was romantically involved with the pedophile from around 1992, but then became his ‘right-hand woman’, managing his property empire and, it is alleged, his trafficking of minors.
Maxwell is currently in custody in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn where she has been given paper clothes to prevent her committing suicide.
President Donald Trump’s shady history of support for alleged crooks and convicted felons
Roger Stone (Convicted)
The former strategist, 67, was convicted of seven felony counts in November 2018.
His convictions included five counts of making false statements to the FBI and congressional investigators, one count of witness tampering, and one obstruction of justice count.
In a statement four months later White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said President Donald Trump ‘signed an Executive Grant of Clemency commuting the unjust sentence of Roger Stone, Jr. … Roger Stone is now a free man!’
The commutation did not erase Stone’s felony convictions in the same way a pardon would, but it protected him from serving prison time as a result.
Trump said: ‘I think Roger Stone was very unfairly treated, as were many people.’
Stone was prosecuted as an offshoot of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Roger Stone flashes a victory gesture on February 1, 2019
Michael Flynn (Pleaded guilty)
In December 2017 the former National Security Advisor, 60, pleaded guilty to a felony count of ‘wilfully and knowingly’ making false statements to the FBI.
By April this year President Donald Trump said he would consider bringing Flynn back to work at the White House.
‘I would certainly consider it,’ he said at an event in the East Room, when asked if he’d hire Flynn again.
‘He will be fully exonerated one way or another, and he would be capable of coming back,’ Trump noted.
His case was bolstered by newly unsealed FBI documents that show that FBI officials discussed whether to get Flynn ‘to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired’ during a 2017 interview with the Trump aide on his contact with the Russian ambassador.
The president cut Flynn loose in February 2017 – a month after he took office – first saying he fired Flynn because he lied to Vice President Mike Pence, and later because he lied to the FBI.
Michael Flynn was fired a month into President Trump’s tenure
Rod Blagojevich (Convicted)
Donald Trump used his presidential power in February to commute the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Blagojevich, 63, was sent to prison for 14 years for soliciting bribes
Blagojevich, 63, was sent to prison for 14 years for soliciting bribes, including those for the Senate seat once held by Barack Obama, and for trying to shake down a children’s hospital.
‘Yes, we have commuted the sentence, he served eight years in jail, a long time,’ Trump told reporters about Blagojevich during a Q&A session at Joint Base Andrews before he left for a four-day trip to the West Coast.
‘I don’t know him very well, I’ve might’ve met him a couple of times,’ Trump added. ‘He was on for a short while on “The Apprentice” years ago. Seem like a nice person, don’t know him, but he served eight years in jail, it was a long time he had to go, many people disagree with the sentences. He’s a Democrat, he’s not a Republican.’
He added: ‘He will be able to go back home with his family after serving eight years in jail. That was a tremendously powerful ridiculous sentence in my opinion. And in the opinions of many others.’
The commutation means Blagojevich is freed from prison but doesn’t have his conviction wiped from his record. Republicans had asked the president not to pardon the former governor, pointing to his corruption record.
In 2009, Blagojevich appeared on NBC’s ‘The Apprentice,’ the reality TV show then hosted by Trump.
Paul Monafort (Convicted)
Donald Trump backed his former campaign chair Paul Manafort, 71, even as a Virginia jury considered his fate on tax and fraud charges.
With a jury in its second day of deliberations, Trump called Manafort a ‘very good person’ and called his trial ‘very sad.’
But he wouldn’t talk about a potential pardon of Manafort, who refused to cooperate with prosecutors to get what could have been a reduced sentence. ‘I don’t talk about that,’ he said.
Asked about Manafort as he departed for a fundraiser in Hamptons, Trump told reporters in August 2018: ‘I think the whole Manafort trial is very sad, when you look at what’s going on there.’
On August 21, their fourth day of deliberation, the jury found Manafort guilty on 8 of the 18 felony counts including five counts of filing false tax returns, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failing to disclose a foreign bank account.
Judge Ellis declared a mistrial on the remaining 10 charges.
Donald Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort in June 2019
Michael Cohen (Convicted)
The disbarred lawyer and convicted felon, 53, pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges and lying to Congress, among other crimes.
Cohen’s campaign finance charges related to his efforts to arrange payouts during the 2016 presidential race to keep the porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal from airing claims of extramarital affairs with Trump.
Trump has denied the affairs.
In April 2018, Trump accused the New York Times of ‘going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will “flip”.
He called Cohen ‘a fine person with a wonderful family’ who is a ‘businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected’.
On June 15, 2018, White House reporters asked Trump if Cohen was still his friend and lawyer. He said: ‘I always liked Michael Cohen… No, he’s not my lawyer anymore. But I always liked Michael, and he’s a good person.’
Michael Cohen, 53, pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges
Joe Arpaio (Pardoned)
President Donald Trump pardoned the former law enforcement officer and politician, 88, on August 25, 2017, for criminal contempt of court, a misdemeanor.
He had been convicted of the crime two months earlier for disobeying a federal judge’s order to stop racial profiling in detaining ‘individuals suspected of being in the US illegally’.
Trump hailed Arpaio as a ‘patriot’. He added: ‘Sheriff Joe is a patriot. Sheriff Joe loves our country. Sheriff Joe protected our borders.
‘And Sheriff Joe was very unfairly treated by the Obama administration, especially right before an election, an election that he would have won. And he was elected many times. So I stand by my pardon of Sheriff Joe, and I think the people of Arizona who really know him best would agree with me,’ Trump said.
In the wake of Trump’s pardon, many critics also argued that he was being excused from serious violations – violations of people’s constitutional rights by ignoring a federal judge’s order. But Trump argued that Arpaio’s past service to the nation was relevant.
Arpaio had yet to be sentenced and hadn’t expressed remorse for the crimes he was convicted of committing. He campaigned frequently with Trump in 2016 and endorsed him.
President Donald Trump pardoned the former law enforcement officer and politician Joe Arpaio, 88, on August 25, 2017, for criminal contempt of court, a misdemeanor. Pictured together in 2016