National reporter leading The Post’s breaking political news team
August 13 at 1:45 PM
President Trump on Tuesday defended his promotion of a baseless conspiracy theory about the death of Jeffrey Epstein over the weekend, saying he had retweeted a “very highly respected conservative pundit” who is a “big Trump fan.”
On Saturday, Trump retweeted a message from conservative actor and comedian Terrence K. Williams that suggested former president Bill Clinton might have been involved in the death of Epstein, the politically connected financier who had been facing multiple charges of sex trafficking involving underage girls.
“He’s a very highly respected conservative pundit,” Trump told reporters in New Jersey, referring to Williams. “He’s a big Trump fan. That was a retweet, that wasn’t from me. That was from him, but he’s a man with half a million followers, a lot of followers. And he’s respected.”
“So I think I was fine,” added Trump, who has 63 million followers on Twitter.
[Giuliani suggests ‘withholding judgement’ on Epstein conspiracy theories two days after Trump promotes one]
Trump also noted that Attorney General William P. Barr had ordered an investigation into the circumstances around Epstein’s death in a federal corrections facility in Manhattan, which the Justice Department initially called an “apparent suicide.”
IMDB.com describes the plot as involving a pizza restaurant where cannabis is infused directly in the pizza sauce.
During an interview late last month on C-SPAN, Trump was asked whether he regretted sending out any of his roughly 43,000 tweets.
“Not much,” Trump said, before acknowledging that he has run into problems with some retweets.
“You know, you retweet something that sounds good, but it turned out to be from a player that’s not the best player in the world,” Trump said. “That sort of causes a problem, but overall, I would say no, not at all. I think it’s a modern-day form of communication.”
On Monday, Rudolph W. Giuliani, a personal lawyer for Trump, took to Twitter to advocate for “withholding judgement” on conspiracy theories concerning Epstein’s death.
“The conspiracy theories concerning the Epstein death are multiplying,” Giuliani wrote. “The facts seem unbelievable. But it is best to wait for some key facts like the findings of the autopsy. Withholding judgement is the wisest course to follow.”
Giuliani, who did not mention Trump in his tweet, added that the Department of Justice is “very motivated to get to the bottom of it.”
Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.