On Tuesday, Trump held his first briefing on the coronavirus pandemic since April and was asked about Maxwell by New York Post reporter Steven Nelson.
“Ghislaine Maxwell is in prison so a lot of people want to know if she’s going to turn in powerful people,” Nelson said. “I know you talked in the past about Prince Andrew and you criticised Bill Clinton’s behaviour. I’m wondering, do you feel that she’s going to turn in powerful men? How do you see that working out?”
Trump immediately responded: “I don’t know. I haven’t really been following it too much. I just wish her well, frankly. I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach.” He added that “they,” likely a reference to Maxwell and Epstein, “lived in Palm Beach.”
“I wish her well, whatever it is,” he reiterated. “I don’t know the situation with Prince Andrew. Just don’t know. Not aware of it.”
Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire earlier this month in connection with Epstein’s sex crimes. She faces six charges including conspiracy, enticement and transportation of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, and two counts of perjury.
“Maxwell assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18,” a copy of the indictment reads. “In some instances, Maxwell was present for and participated in the sexual abuse of minor victims.”
Nelson’s reference to Prince Andrew stems from the claim by alleged victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who says Epstein and Maxwell flew her around the world to have sex with powerful men — one of whom, Giuffre claims, was Prince Andrew.
There are many photographs of Trump with Epstein and Maxwell, suggesting that they knew one another. It’s unclear whether Trump spent time with the pair in tandem with Prince Andrew. It’s also unclear if the president is aware of what Maxwell has been accused of.
Some have speculated that Trump is aware and responded as he did in an effort to avoid retaliation.