President Donald Trump is defending his retweets of baseless conspiracy theories attempting to link Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide with former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Speaking with reporters in Morristown, New Jersey, on Tuesday, Trump said he thought it was “fine” to retweet the conspiracy because it came from “a very highly respected conservative pundit.”
But the president also appeared to try to downplay his actions, saying, “That was a retweet. That wasn’t from me, that was from him.”
The tweets originated from Terrence K. Williams, whose Twitter bio identifies him as an actor and commentator.
“Died of SUICIDE on 24/7 SUICIDE WATCH ? Yeah right! How does that happen,” Williams tweeted on Saturday. ”#JefferyEpstein had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead. I see #TrumpBodyCount trending but we know who did this!”
Williams’ tweet included a video that mentions another unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that suggests the Clintons were responsible for the death of White House aide Vince Foster, who died by suicide in 1994.
There is no evidence to back either conspiracy theory. Trump shared the post with his followers over the weekend.
“He’s a big Trump fan. ... He’s a man who has half a million followers, a lot of followers, and he’s respected,” the president said of Williams. “And, as you know, Bill Barr wants to do an entire investigation of the whole Epstein matter.”
Trump said he had “no idea” whether he believed Bill Clinton had anything to do with Epstein’s death, according to NBC reporter Kelly O’Donnell. He then questioned whether Clinton ever visited the convicted sex offender’s private island.
That comment appeared to hint at a second conspiracy theory Trump retweeted over the weekend. He shared a tweet posted by an account named @BreakingNLive that claimed court documents in Epstein’s case showed that Clinton “took private trips to Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘pedophilia island.’”
Epstein owned Little St. James Island, which is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands and was nicknamed “pedophile island” by locals, according to the Associated Press.
The court documents, which were recently unsealed, include flight logs showing that Clinton flew on the financier’s private jet a number of times, but the documents do not indicate that he traveled to Little St. James Island.
The logs also show that Trump has flown on Epstein’s jet. Both Clinton and Trump had relationships with Epstein.