Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump: A timeline of their relationship
Jeffrey Epstein has been connected with some of the richest, most powerful men in the world. One of those men is current U.S. president Donald Trump. According to sources, Trump was close friends with the former Wall Street investor who ran a sex trafficking ring and died of an apparent suicide while awaiting trial in New York.
There’s overwhelming evidence that Jeffrey Epstein ran a sex trafficking pyramid scheme involving underage girls. According to survivors, Epstein and his girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, forced them to sleep with politicians, celebrities, attorneys, and members of the royal family.
The connection between a sex trafficker like Jeffrey Epstein and the most powerful man in the U.S. raises some alarms. How did they meet? Were they still in touch? Here’s everything we know about the friendship between Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump.
When Donald met Jeffrey
According to an interview with Cosmopolitan in 2002, Donald Trump said that he and Jeffrey Epstein were “great friends” who knew each other for fifteen years. That puts their first meeting in the late 1980s. At that time, Epstein just started his own investment firm and was making connections with CEOs like Leslie Wexner.
In the late 1980s, Donald Trump was a real estate mogul in New York, where Jeffrey Epstein was living. It’s possible that the two of them were at the same party. They would have had a mutual interest in meeting each other: Trump to have a financial guy and Epstein to secure another rich client for his investment business.
New York wasn’t the only place Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump spent time together. They both owned mansions in Palm Beach, FL. Trump owns Mar-a-Lago, his private golf course where he spends a lot of vacation time. Epstein’s mansion, which was a hub of his sex trafficking operation, was close to Mar-a-Lago.
Jeffrey Epstein bought his mansion in 1990. Donald Trump purchased Mar-a-Lago in 1985, turning it into a private resort ten years later. While Epstein and Trump both lived in Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago hosted the infamous “Calendar Girl Club” where Epstein and Trump were both in attendance.
Friends with benefits
According to one of Donald Trump’s aides, Trump was friends with Jeffrey Epstein and hung out with him a lot because he was rich. The massive amount of wealth Epstein and Trump obtained kept them in an insular social circle. They were two rich men into investments in a very small pond.
According to sources, Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein would be each other’s wingman at parties. They were close to each other for years, and reportedly, Epstein was the one who introduced Trump to his current wife, Melania. Then a bidding war in 2004 supposedly upended their friendship.
From property brothers to property rivals
In 2004, a mansion called Maison De L’amitie, ironically translating to House of Friendship, went up for sale in Palm Beach. Being a lucrative property, both real estate baron Donald Trump and investor Jeffrey Epstein had their eyes on the prize.
The bidding war began. It nearly ended their friendship, with each accusing the other of not having enough money. Donald Trump even banned Jeffrey Epstein from Mar-a-Lago. The ban was because Epstein was being inappropriate with a guest’s underage daughter.
The friendship was well over by 2008 after Jeffrey Epstein was found guilty of soliciting a prostitute and soliciting a minor. Donald Trump now denies that he and Epstein were ever friends. According to a 2018 interview with Miami attorney Bradley Edwards, a prosecutor in the Epstein case, Trump was more than willing to discuss details with him about Epstein.
Stuffing the cabinet
Despite the falling out, Donald Trump appointed two noteworthy connections to Jeffrey Epstein to his cabinet after he was inaugurated. The first was Alex Acosta, the U.S. attorney responsible for negotiating a ridiculously lenient plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein in 2008. Trump appointed him Secretary of Labor in 2017.
The plea deal Acosta negotiated with Jeffrey Epstein reduced the multiple counts Epstein was facing to two. The life sentence that may have come with the charges became a year with a lenient detention agreement. The deal caused public outcry after Epstein’s arrest in 2019. After, Acosta stepped down with Donald Trump’s blessing.
Donald Trump also appointed the current U.S. Attorney General William Barr, whose father hired Jeffrey Epstein to teach at The Dalton School. Despite the connection, Barr refused to recuse himself from the investigation. It’s unclear whether Trump knew of Acosta or Barr due to his previous connection with Epstein.