At a press conference this week, President Donald Trump attracted a lot of scrutiny for offering well wishes to Ghislaine Maxwell, the woman who was recently arrested over her role in the sex crimes perpetrated by Jeffrey Epstein. Trump was, at one time, friendly with Epstein and Maxwell, and the three of them have been photographed together on various occasions in various contexts. During an appearance on Fox News this Thursday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany offered a bizarre excuse for Trump’s comments about Maxwell. She claimed that Trump’s well wishes meant, in part, that he hoped Maxwell didn’t die in prison like Epstein — but if that’s true, then why didn’t he just say that?
After Fox News host Bret Baier noted to McEnany that Trump’s comments about Maxwell “raised some eyebrows,” McEnany replied:
‘What the president was noting is that the last person who was charged in this case ended up dead in a jail cell, and the president wants justice served for victims in this case, and he prefers this to play out in a courtroom.’
After Baier continued his questioning of the president’s comments, noting that a lot of people found the president’s rhetoric “strange,” McEnany cut in:
‘Let me note one more thing Bret — this president is the president that banned Jeffrey Epstein from coming to Mar-A-Lago. This president was always on top of this, banning this man from his property long before this case was even being played out in a court of law.’
Watch her comments below:
Fox anchor Bret Baier: Trump telling Ghislaine Maxwell "I wish her well" raised eyebrows.
Kayleigh McEnany: What Trump was saying is Epstein ended up dead in jail and he wants justice served for the victims.
Baier: "A lot of people were saying it seemed a strange answer." pic.twitter.com/uNKmA9rElx
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) July 23, 2020
Again — why didn’t Trump just say any of that, if it’s supposedly what he meant? It’s not like what McEnany claims the president meant is some kind of complicated concept. Trump could have just said it — but he did not. Why not? It’s unclear when precisely Trump actually banned Epstein from Mar-A-Lago, but as recently as 2002, he called Epstein a “terrific guy” in an interview with New York Magazine. Epstein’s plea deal in the first court case against him was getting worked on in 2007 — so McEnany’s claim that Trump cut ties with Epstein “long before” the case was making its way through court seems a bit dubious.