President Donald Trump doubled down on his well wishes to Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of sexual abuse against young girls alongside her former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein, in a new interview where he blatantly says he doesn’t know about the allegations waged against her.
On Monday night, Axios released an interview with reporter Jonathan Swan and Trump on HBO, which covered a wide range of topics in the span of 40 minutes. In addition to discussing his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the late Rep. John Lewis, and more, Swan asked Trump about his previous comments toward Maxwell.
Last month, at his first briefing on the coronavirus pandemic since April, New York Post reporter Steven Nelson asked Trump if he thought Maxwell ― who had been arrested in the weeks prior ― would “turn in powerful men.”
To that, Trump said that he hadn’t “really been following it too much,” but that he just wishes “her well, frankly.”
“I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach,” he said, adding: “I wish her well, whatever it is.”
That exchange was met with many wondering why the president would weigh in at all in regards to case pertaining to alleged child sex trafficking and the girlfriend of a convicted pedophile.
In his interview, Swan asked Trump: “Mr. President, Ghislaine Maxwell has been arrested on allegations of child sex trafficking. Why would you wish such a person well ... ”
Trump interjected to say, “Well, first of all, I don’t know that,” which Swan countered with: “She has. She’s been arrested for that. You know that.”
The president powered on and answered by musing about Epstein’s death. The financier died by suicide while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges in August 2019, though many are skeptical about the circumstances of his death.
“Her friend, or boyfriend, was either killed or committed suicide in jail. She’s now in jail. Yeah, I wish her well. I’d wish you well. I’d wish a lot of people well. Good luck. Let them prove somebody was guilty,” said Trump.
“Oh, so you’re saying you hope she doesn’t die in jail? Is that what you mean by ‘wish her well’?” asked Swan in response.
“Her boyfriend died in jail, and people are still trying to figure out, how did it happen? Was it suicide? Was he killed? And I do wish her well. I’m not looking for anything bad for her. I’m not looking bad for anybody. And they took that and they made it such ... ” said Trump, before Swan pushed back: “I mean, she’s a child sex — alleged child sex trafficker.”
“ ... Such a big deal. But all it is, is her boyfriend died. He died in jail. Was he killed? Was it suicide? I do. I wish her well,” Trump concluded.
The interview veered off to discuss the ongoing demonstrations against racial inequality that that have led to police brutality on videotape in Portland, Oregon.
Maxwell currently faces six charges including conspiracy, enticement and transportation of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, and two counts of perjury.
Trump’s remarks coincide with his administration awarding “more than $35 million in Justice Department grants to organizations that provide safe housing for survivors of human trafficking,” according to a report by The Associated Press.
The grants aim to provide survivors with “anywhere from six to 24 months of transitional or short-term housing assistance,” which includes rent, utilities or related expenses, such as a security deposit.