Trump's Name On Epstein List Isn't Surprising Given The Pair's Long History

The drama around the Jeffrey Epstein scandal continued with the January 3, 2024 release of over 150 names associated with the disgraced financier and convicted sex offender. The names are part of a recently unsealed set of court documents related to a 2015 defamation lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre — the same woman who accused Prince Andrew of sexual abuse — against Ghislaine Maxwell. Giuffre, and several others, have accused Epstein and Maxwell of underage sex trafficking. Epstein took his own life while awaiting trial in 2019; Maxwell was found guilty in 2021.

While a list of Epstein-related names might sound like it would be a client list of sorts, exposing anyone who had engaged in inappropriate behavior with or because of Epstein, that isn't the case. The list includes the names of witnesses who testified in 2015, people named in the testimony, employees of Epstein, and some of the alleged victims. One of the names is a particularly famous one: Donald Trump.

The former president's name came up first in the previously redacted court documents as someone that Epstein was going to invite to an Atlantic City casino in 2001. Then Laura Menninger, a lawyer for Maxwell, asked a witness if Trump was someone that she'd massaged, to which the witness replied in the negative. Even so, his name coming up isn't a surprise since, after all, Trump and Epstein were buddies.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Donald Trump liked to party with Jeffrey Epstein

Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein ran in the same social circles particularly during the 1980s and 1990s when they both had a lot of money and a ton of influence, and they were known around the high-society scene in New York and Palm Beach. "In those days, if you didn't know Trump and you didn't know Epstein, you were a nobody," Alan Dershowitz, one of Epstein's lawyers, told The New York Times.

In one example of the two men out on the town, Trump hosted a party at Mar-a-Lago in 1992 attended by both Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, and they looked very comfortable with each other, judging by video footage shared on "Today." Fast forward to 2000, and Trump was photographed with Epstein and Maxwell again, this time with Melania Trump alongside them too.

This fun-loving, party-filled lifestyle the two shared seems to have been confirmed by Trump in a 2002 New York Magazine article about Epstein. "I've known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He's a lot of fun to be with," Trump said. "It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life."

Jeffrey Epstein let Donald Trump use his private plane

In fact, Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump were reportedly close enough that the disgraced financier had over a dozen numbers for getting a hold of Trump, per a leaked copy of his address book — including phone numbers for various staff members and even Melania Trump herself. Epstein also notably had numbers for Ivana and Ivanka Trump. Likewise, the former president was also listed as a passenger on Epstein's private plane. He flew on it a total of seven times during the 1990s, according to flight logs that were released during Ghislaine Maxwell's 2021 trial. 

However, he wasn't listed as being on a flight to Epstein's private Caribbean island where the financier was alleged to have brought multiple underage girls over the years. Their friendship reportedly came to an end in 2004 when they were both vying to buy the same Palm Beach property (Trump ultimately won out). A few years later, Trump ended up banning Epstein from Mar-a-Lago, according to the book "The Grifter's Club: Trump, Mar-a-Lago, and the Selling of the Presidency," after a member complained that Epstein had made a pass at her teenage daughter.

Donald Trump tried to distance himself from Jeffrey Epstein

Despite the sheer number of photographs that exist of Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump together at numerous events over the past decades, during the 2016 presidential election, Alan Garten, an attorney for the Trump Organization, clarified to Fox News, "They were not friends and they did not socialize together." The controversial politician himself confirmed, following his July 2019 arrest, that he only knew Epstein, "like everybody in Palm Beach knew him." 

But Trump denied any kind of close relationship. "I had a falling out with him," he asserted while addressing reporters in the Oval Office. "I haven't spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you," (via The New York Times). This seems counter to, among other things, the recently unredacted testimony from the 2015 defamation trial of Ghislaine Maxwell. Trump's name also came up during Maxwell's 2021 sexual abuse trial. 

An unnamed woman who took the stand claimed that Epstein had introduced her to Trump while at Mar-a-Lago when she was 14. The woman didn't accuse Trump of any untoward behavior, but it does seem to show that the two men were close, at least to some degree, for a while. No word, as of yet, from Trump or his team regarding the release of the 2015 court documents. Other high-profile names include Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson, and Prince Andrew.