White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said President Donald Trump’s comments about Ghislaine Maxwell were intended to convey that he wants to see justice served.
Maxwell was arrested earlier this month before pleading not guilty to sex crime and perjury charges. Prosecutors alleged that she helped entice and transport minors for sexual acts in the early 1990s along with notorious financier Jeffrey Epstein.
“What the president was noting is that the last person who was charged in [Epstein’s] case ended up dead in a jail cell, and the president wants justice to be served for the victims in this case, and he prefers this to play out in a courtroom,” McEnany said on Fox News, referring to Trump’s comments about Maxwell at a White House press briefing.
“This president is the president that banned Jeffrey Epstein from coming to Mar-a-Lago,” she said after a Fox News anchor said Trump gave an unusual answer.
“This president was always on top of this, ahead of this, noting banning this man from his property long before this case was even being played out in a court of law,” McEnany told the program.
During Trump’s first CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus briefing in months, he was asked about Maxwell.
“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, and I guess they lived in Palm Beach. But I wish her well, whatever it is,” he said in the press conference. Some said his comments were inappropriate.
Trump said that he once knew Epstein but has since said the two were not close and hadn’t seen or spoken to each other in many years. Epstein was found dead of what medical officials say was a suicide in his Manhattan jail cell last August.
Maxwell has for years been accused by many women of acting as a madam for Epstein, helping him scout young girls for abuse, then hiring them to give him massages, during which the girls were pressured into sex acts. In one lawsuit, a woman alleged Maxwell was the “highest-ranking employee” of Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking enterprise. Those accusations, until now, never resulted in criminal charges.
“More recently we learned she had slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago,” William Sweeney, head of the FBI’s New York office, told a news conference Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.