06/12/2019 11:37 AM AEDT

Donald Trump Once Said Prince Andrew Was 'A Lot Of Fun' And 'Not Pretentious'

The president denied knowing the Duke of York on Tuesday, but a People report says the opposite.

President Donald Trump can’t keep his story straight regarding his relationship with Prince Andrew.

On Tuesday, Trump claimed that he didn’t know the disgraced royal. That followed Andrew’s recent announcement that he was stepping back from public duties for the foreseeable future due to the public uproar over his past involvement with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. 

“I don’t know Prince Andrew, but that’s a tough story, it’s a very tough story,” the president said at a NATO summit in London. “I don’t know.” 

But People dug up a 2000 interview with Trump ― and republished quotes from it on Wednesday. Two decades ago, the then-real estate developer was all too happy to talk about his association with the prince. 

“He’s not pretentious. He’s a lot of fun to be with,” Trump told the magazine. 

As the outlet also pointed out, Tom Newton Dunn, politics reporter at The Sun, tweeted that last year the president said he’d played 18 holes of golf with the prince. 

Trump and the Duke of York have also been repeatedly photographed together over the years. 

Just six months ago, Trump met with Andrew during his three-day trip to the United Kingdom and they were photographed together at Westminster Abbey. They also both attended the State Banquet held at Buckingham Palace on June 3 in Trump’s honor. 

Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images
Prince Andrew and President Donald Trump talk with Dean of Westminster John Hall (right) during a June 3 visit to Westminster Abbey in London.
Chris Jackson via Getty Images
The Duke of York (left) with Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and the dean of Westminster at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior on June 3 in London.

During the same visit, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner also stepped out alongside the prince:

POOL New / Reuters
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner view displays from the Royal Collection with Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace on June 3.

After Trump denied knowing Andrew on Tuesday, many Twitter users circulated this photo of Trump, Andrew and then-Melania Knauss at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, in 2000. 

Davidoff Studios Photography via Getty Images
Donald Trump, his then-girlfriend Melania Knauss and Prince Andrew pose together at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on Feb. 12, 2000.

Another photo shows Trump, Melania, Andrew and the late Jeffrey Epstein in the same shot: 

It appears that Trump, who has been trying to shrug off his own associations with Epstein, is now doing his best to disassociate from Andrew after the royal’s disastrous interview with BBC’s “Newsnight” in November.

Davidoff Studios Photography via Getty Images
Donald Trump, Melania Knauss, Jeffrey Epstein, and Epstein associate and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell pose together at Mar-a-Lago on Feb. 12, 2000.

In the interview, Andrew denied that he’d ever met or had sexual relations with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has alleged that at age 17 she was raped by the prince. But the two have been photographed together.

The prince also failed to condemn Epstein’s behavior and shrugged off his reported crimes as “unbecoming.” 

The public backlash to the Duke of York’s interview was so great that Andrew announced shortly afterward that he was stepping away from royal duties.