If you’ve been on social media over the past few years, you’d heard about billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, his crimes, and his political connections to high-profile Democrats, including Bill Clinton. But since Epstein was arrested for sex-trafficking minors this past week, the media has been scrambling to flip the script, to link the big-time Democrat donor to Donald Trump.
As Sean Hannity noted on Fox News, Epstein “had ties to many Democratic politicians and celebrities, including big ties to…Bill Clinton, who took very many trips on Epstein’s private plane” known as the Lolita Express, but now, after ignoring Epstein for years, “the mainstream media is interested because Epstein once had ties to President Trump through social events at Mar-a-Lago.” What the media failed to report on was that Donald Trump banned Epstein from Mar-a-Lago years ago for inappropriate behavior, hasn’t seen Epstein in over fifteen years, and unlike some prominent Democrats, never went to Epstein’s private island. Former president Bill Clinton reportedly flew on Epstein’s plane at least 26 times.
Bill Clinton released a statement about Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest, claiming to be completely unaware of his crimes, and only admitting to having flown on Epstein’s plane four times—contradicting flight logs that say otherwise. Of course, we can expect that more about this discrepancy will be examined in the future—though probably not by the mainstream media.
Jeffrey Epstein’s connections to Democrats are hardly secret, and even Nancy Pelosi’s daughter Christine warned that some of the left’s favorites may be implicated in the future.
But if you only get your news from the mainstream media, you probably wouldn’t have any idea. On ABC’s Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton senior adviser, reported on Epstein’s arrest without ever mentioning Bill Clinton. According to Newsbusters, “CBS and NBC, on the other hand, tried to connect Epstein to Trump. While NBC’s Stephanie Gosk gave a passing mention to both Clinton and Trump (without any mention of the “Lolita Express”), CBS This Morning’s Mola Lenghi spent more time on both Trump and Clinton, while emphasizing comments Trump made praising Epstein in 2002.”
The media’s attempt to turn Epstein into a Trump scandal actually goes back at least several months. MSNBC’s Joy Reid attempted to link Trump and Epstein back in February, and Joe Scarborough attempted to do the same back in March, but Epstein’s recent arrest now has the media working aggressively on that score.
On Thursday, an MSNBC contributor and former U.S. Attorney bizarrely claimed that Trump and Epstein are comparable figures. “You know, it is so hard I think to avoid the comparison between Epstein and Trump. Of course, one is under indictment. The other is not. But they are similar and credible allegations of this kind of conduct.” Trump hasn’t been accused of doing anything similar to what Epstein is accused of. Trump has also made fighting human trafficking a key initiative of his administration. On ABC’s The View, Joy Behar also tried to connect Epstein to Trump this week, but not Clinton.
Democrats in Congress have also been trying to keep Epstein’s ties to their party off the frontpages. When Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s role in a secret 2008 plea deal for Epstein emerged, Democrats pounced on the revelation, ultimately putting enough pressure on Acosta to resign on Friday.
The pressure from Democrats on Acosta had nothing to do with Acosta himself, or even Epstein. It was about creating the narrative that Epstein is a Trump scandal, not a Democrat scandal. But make no mistake, Epstein was a major Democratic donor. In fact, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer received more than $7,000 in donations from Epstein over the years, and was pressured to donate those contributions to charity on Wednesday—only deciding to do so when Epstein’s crimes were making headlines, even though they’ve been known for years.
I’ve written extensively about how the media actively ignored Obama’s scandals during his presidency in order to keep the appearance that Obama had a scandal-free presidency. In many ways what the media is doing now is worse. Epstein may finally get the justice he deserves, but if the media has its way, Democrats connected to Epstein and his child sex trafficking won’t be held accountable at all because they’d much rather try to pin it all on Trump. But, based on all available information, Donald Trump is the only high-profile person who did anything right with regard to Jeffrey Epstein.
Matt Margolis is the author of the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published on July 30, 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis