President Donald Trump, who is on record calling Jeffrey Epstein a “terrific guy” in 2002, reportedly showed up in the financier’s “black book” with 14 different phone numbers, according to Business Insider.
Trump faced questions surrounding his relationship with Epstein on Tuesday, following his old friend’s recent arrest in New York and in light of comments he has made in the past regarding Epstein.
In 2002, Trump said of Epstein: "Terrific guy. He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side."
But the president has distanced himself from Epstein in recent years, telling reporters on Tuesday that he “had a falling out with him a long time ago, I don't think I've spoken to him for 15 years. I wasn't a fan."
Asked about their relationship in 2015, a Trump spokesperson said: "Mr. Trump only knew Mr. Epstein as Mr. Trump owns the hottest and most luxurious club in Palm Beach, [redacted], and Mr. Epstein would go there on occasion."
Epstein faces new charges for alleged sex trafficking of underage girls — charges he escaped in 2008 after striking a deal with Florida prosecutors that amounted to only prostitution charges and little more than a year in prison.
Trump’s current labor secretary, Alex Acosta, was a federal prosecutor in Miami in 2008 and instrumental in Epstein’s plea deal, which also helped the wealthy New Yorker avoid federal prosecution.
Many have called for Acosta to resign following a ruling that his plea agreement — which was kept secret from Epstein’s victims — was unconstitutional.
But Trump defended the labor secretary on Tuesday, saying, "I felt very badly, actually, for Secretary Acosta, because I've known him as being somebody who works so hard, and has done such a good job. I feel very badly about that whole situation, but we're going to be looking at that very closely."