Fox News broadcast a segment on Sunday about Ghislane Maxwell, the 58-year-old British socialite who was arrested by the FBI in New Hampshire last week and charged with the sex trafficking of children in the 1990s. Maxwell was a close friend of deceased pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and Fox aired a photo of Maxwell that should look familiar to anyone who followed reports of Epstein’s abuse of teenage girls. But there was one thing missing from the image that Fox put on screen: President Donald Trump.
The original photo, which is available online from Getty Images, shows Donald Trump, his then-girlfriend Melania (now the First Lady), Jeffrey Epstein, and Ghislane Maxwell. The photo was taken at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida on February 12, 2000. Twitter users were the first to spot the strange edit by Fox News.
The news clip from Sunday, which is available on YouTube, shows the selective editing by Fox News to delete President Trump from the photo.
Why would Fox edit the image to exclude President Trump? One guess might be that the conservative cable network doesn’t want to draw the ire of the president, who is known to spend countless hours each day watching TV, according to people like former National Security Advisor John Bolton.
“I think that if you could clock the amount of time he spends actually in the Oval Office versus the amount of time he spends in the little dining room off the Oval Office with the cable news networks in one form or another on, it would be a very interesting statistic,” Bolton told CBS’s Face The Nation on Sunday.
Trump even criticized Fox News in a series of tweets on Sunday, insisting that he now prefers to watch networks like One American News and Newsmax because Fox is running “suppression polls” that show Democratic rival Joe Biden leading the presidential race for 2020.
“.@FoxNews weekend afternoons is the worst! Getting into @CNN and MSDNC territory. Watch @OANN & @newsmax instead. Much better!” Trump tweeted on Sunday.
Perhaps the weirdest thing about the Fox News segment about Maxwell is that the original photo would look more appropriate simply from an aesthetic point of view. The image was cropped to become more vertical, making the edit much more noticeable when both the Fox anchor and the guest appear on the screen, as you can see in the screenshot below.
Epstein, who was 66 years old, allegedly died by suicide on August 10, 2019, though many people believe the sex trafficker was killed in jail at the behest of powerful people who had a lot to lose if he talked. Epstein was held in a Manhattan jail maintained by the Bureau of Prisons, which is ultimately overseen by the head of the Justice Department, Attorney General Bill Barr.
Several high-profile figures in the realms of politics, technology, and entertainment have been connected to Epstein and Maxwell in one way or another over the years. Former President Bill Clinton, former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, and the UK’s Prince Andrew have all reportedly hung out with Epstein. Photos of Microsoft founder Bill Gates at Epstein’s New York mansion even emerged last year, though Gates denies any suggestion of wrongdoing.
But Trump supporters are often reluctant to acknowledge Epstein’s ties weren’t just to well-known Democrats like Clinton and Richardson. Trump has extensive connections to Jeffrey Epstein and there are many photos and videos of the two men together over the years. Getty Images has a photo of Epstein with Trump at Mar-a-Lago in 1997, taken just a few years after one anonymous woman alleged she was raped by Trump when she was 13 at Epstein’s mansion.
As might be expected in the year 2020, there’s a lot of misinformation about both Epstein and Maxwell floating around on social media. Most recently, there are claims that Maxwell’s tested positive for covid-19. Maxwell has not tested positive for the coronavirus and is not ill in any way, as far as we know.
What happens next with Maxwell’s case? A lot of people are predicting that she might meet a similar fate to Epstein, dying of “suicide,” before she can talk about her defense. And there’s one new fact that might rise the eyebrows of conspiracy theorists around the world: According to the New York Daily News, Maxwell might soon be sent to the same jail where Epstein died.
Update, 11:40 a.m. ET: Fox News has reportedly addressed the deletion of President Donald Trump from the photo of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislane Maxwell in a statement to CNN.
“On Sunday, July 5, a report on Ghislaine Maxwell during FOX News Channel’s America’s News HQ mistakenly eliminated President Donald Trump from a photo alongside then Melania Knauss, Jeffrey Epstein and Maxwell. We regret the error,” Fox News reportedly said in a statement to CNN’s media reporter Oliver Darcy.
“Mistakenly.” For sure, guys.