After practically ignoring President Donald Trump oddly wishing an accused sex trafficker “well,” Fox News finally broached the subject Thursday morning in an interview with White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
While reviving his daily coronavirus briefings in an attempt to reverse his sagging approval ratings on the pandemic, Trump was asked on Tuesday if he felt longtime Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell would “turn in powerful men” following her arrest.
“I don't know, I haven't really been following it too much,” the president replied. “I just wish her well, frankly. I've met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach and I guess they lived in Palm Beach. But I wish her well, whatever it is.”
More than 24 hours later, Fox anchor Bret Baier brought up the president’s well-wishes to McEnany, noting how Maxwell was charged with recruiting and sexually abusing underage girls.
“That raises some eyebrows, Kayleigh,” Baier added.
“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 to be served for the victims in this case and he prefers this to play out in a courtroom,” McEnany replied, referencing Epstein’s apparent jail-cell suicide.
Trump, by the way, made no mention of Epstein or the circumstances around his death or custody in prison.
After McEnany confirmed she has spoken to the president about his Maxwell remarks, Baier noted that “a lot of people were saying it just seemed a strange answer,” prompting the spokeswoman to characterize Trump as a heroic figure in regards to Epstein.
“This president is the president that banned Jeffrey Epstein from coming to Mar-a-Lago,” she exclaimed. “This president was always on top of this, ahead of this, noting this, banning this man from his property long before this case was even being played out in a court of law.”
Prior to an apparent falling out with Epstein in 2004, which appears to have been over a real-estate competition, Trump hung out socially with the late financier for years. As recently as 2002, Trump called Epstein a “terrific guy” whom he had known for 15 years. The two of them threw a 1992 party at Mar-a-Lago that featured a guest list of Epstein, Trump, and 28 “calendar girls.”
Following Trump’s newsmaking Maxwell well-wishes, which raised eyebrows across the media and were covered extensively on other networks, Fox News went into near silence on his comments.
Prior to Baier’s question, the only mention on Fox appeared to be liberal pundit Jessica Tarlov quickly injecting the well-wishes into a panel discussion.
And on social media, Fox News correspondent-at-large Geraldo Rivera—a close friend of the president’s—took to Twitter to call Trump “brave” for wishing Maxwell the best. That came on the heels of Rivera lambasting a judge for denying Maxwell bail, claiming the judge was “chickening out” and caving to a woke “mob.”