Ex-Trump aide Scaramucci says president’s ‘well wishes’ to Ghislaine Maxwell are coded message: ‘Please don’t talk’

President's past association with Jeffrey Epstein has been downplayed in recent years

Andrew Naughtie
Thursday 23 July 2020 07:35 BST
Trump says he wishes accused sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell well and has 'met her numerous times'

Former White House communications chief Anthony Scaramucci has accused Donald Trump of covertly imploring the arrested socialite Ghislaine Maxwell not to reveal what she knows about him.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Mr Scaramucci wrote: “She has the goods on him. He is signaling ‘please don’t talk.’”

Mr Trump acknowledged Ms Maxwell during a press briefing on Tuesday, his first since April. Asked by a reporter whether he thought she would turn in other powerful men who were potentially involved with Jeffrey Epstein, the president said he hasn’t been following the case closely.

“I just wish her well,” he said. “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.”

Mr Trump was photographed alongside Epstein and Ms Maxwell many times over more than a decade, and once called Epstein a “terrific guy”, saying “he [liked] beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side”.

Since before Epstein’s death, however, any association between them has been downplayed. Fox News recently had to apologise for “mistakenly” cropping Mr Trump out of a picture featuring the two.

Mr Scaramucci has several times tweeted in support of Epstein-related conspiracy theories, and specifically the idea that the billionaire paedophile was murdered in prison. Among the sources he has retweeted on this subject is far-right male supremacist agitator Mike Cernovich.

Mr Cernovich previously helped propagate the “Pizzagate” theory, which held that Hillary Clinton and her associates were running a child sex ring out of the basement of a Washington pizza restaurant, Comet Ping Pong. (The restaurant does not in fact have a basement.)

Mr Scaramucci was hired as White House communications director in August 2017, upon which he immediately became obsessed with leakers and acquired a reputation for turning on both the press and his fellow aides.

In a notoriously coarse phone interview with The New Yorker during his time at the White House, he boasted of his own sense of mission while denigrating the president’s closest advisers.

“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own c***,” he told reporter Ryan Lizza. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the f***ing strength of the president. I’m here to serve the country.”

Mr Scaramucci was sacked shortly afterwards by incoming chief of staff John Kelly.

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