President Donald Trump retweeted over the weekend a conspiracy theory linking the death of millionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein to former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, again without providing any evidence to support his outrageous claim.
Shortly after his retweet, Trump faced criticism from Democrats, who accused him of “changing the conversation.”
“This is another example of our president using this position of public trust to attack his political enemies with unfounded conspiracy theories and also to try and force you and me and all of us to focus on his bizarre behavior,” said Representative Beto O’Rourke for CNN’s Jake Tapper. “He’s changing the conversation, and if we allow him to do that, then we will never be able to focus on the true problems, of which he is a part, and make sure that we get to the solutions.”
Tapper himself also took the opportunity to rebuke the President for spreading conspiracy theories without offering any proof, especially when the country still mourns in the wake of two mass shootings last weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
Tapper noted that Trump will “use his megaphone for anything. But the president often uses it to amplify that which is the worst of us: personal attacks, bigotry and insane conspiracy theories.”
New Jersey Senator and presidential hopeful Cory Booker accused Trump of recklessness, saying that he has “been using the Clintons as a means for a lot of his false accusations.” Booker stressed that such tactics were very “dangerous.”
On Saturday, Trump retweeted a video from the comedian Terrence Williams, a Trump supporter, linking the Clintons to the death. Epstein “had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead,” Williams wrote, adding in a video that “for some odd reason, people that have information on the Clintons end up dead.”
The groundless claims, promoted by far-right conspiracy theorists, date back to Clinton’s presidential days when he allegedly ordered his political opponents to be killed.
Clinton’s spokesman Angel Ureña responded to the retweet, writing, “Ridiculous, and of course not true — and Donald Trump knows it. Has he triggered the 25th Amendment yet?”
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway quickly came to the President’s defense, saying in an interview that “the president just wants everything to be investigated.” While pointing put to Epstein’s ties to the Clintons, Conway dismissed President Trump’s own connections with the millionaire, charged with sex trafficking. Despite Epstein being a member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, since his arrest the President has claimed he was “never a fan,” The Hill reports.