President Donald Trump is known for spreading conspiracy theories — he was one of the leading figures behind the discredited birther movement, frequently insisting that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. The president hopped onto another conspiracy this past week, retweeting a baseless claim the Clintons were behind the suicide of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
His source for that tweet was a right-wing Twitter personality, and when asked about his decision to spread the conspiracy theory, Trump doubled down.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Trump declared that he had simply retweeted, “a highly respected conservative pundit. A big Trump fan,” adding “he’s a man who has half-a-million followers. A lot of followers and he’s respected.” A few moments later, he repeated, it “was from somebody that’s a very respected conservative pundit. So, um, I think I was fine.”
Trump also pointed out that Attorney General Bill Barr is investigating the death of Jeffrey Epstein.
Watch the video below:
Trump argues his retweet of a @w_terrence tweet suggesting the Clintons murdered Jeffrey Epstein "was fine" because Williams is "a highly respected conservative pundit. A big Trump fan. And that was a retweet … he's a man who has half a million followers." pic.twitter.com/7fCwb59T3L
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 13, 2019
That “highly-respected conservative pundit,” is Twitter personality, Terrence Williams. After Trump defended his retweet of the conspiracy theory, Williams wrote, “Thank you for the kind words. They are going crazy over a retweet because they have nothing else to complain about since the Russia HOAX is over! I can’t wait to meet you Mr. President.”
In his initial tweet — which included a video — Williams wondered aloud how Epstein could have killed himself while on suicide watch. However, Epstein was not on suicide watch when he was found dead.
Bill Clinton is known to have flown on Epstein’s plane, and Epstein even visited the Clinton White House, according to a Daily Beast investigation. But Trump was also close with Epstein and once called him a “terrific guy” during an interview with New York Magazine. Newly unsealed documents also show that Trump flew on Epstein’s plane in 1997.