Donald Trump’s Jeffrey Epstein scandal has already reached a radioactive level of toxicity for him. Epstein has been arrested for sex trafficking of minors. Trump and Epstein are old friends. Trump gave a cabinet position to the prosecutor who initially let Epstein off the hook. Trump and Epstein have said seemingly incriminating things about each other. So what’s Trump doing to try to make his scandal go away? Would you believe he sent Kellyanne Conway to bat?
While speaking to television cameras this morning, Kellyanne Conway started off by doing the kind of thing you’re supposed to do when you’re trying to distance your boss from a scandal: she claimed that Donald Trump hadn’t seen Jeffrey Epstein in more than a decade. She lies nearly every time she opens her mouth, so you have to wonder if this is also a lie, and surely some investigative reporter will get to the bottom of it. But at least she was following a viable strategy.
Then came the part where Kellyanne made a point of defending Trump’s Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, even though he’s the former prosecutor who bent over backward to let Epstein off the hook on similarly disgusting charges a decade ago. Kellyanne literally said that Acosta should be left alone because the economy is doing well. Even if Acosta were in any way responsible for the parts of the Obama economy that are still growing, which he’s not, it still wouldn’t somehow nullify Acosta’s prior efforts to make sure a child molester remained on the prowl.
But the real screw-up here, by Kellyanne Conway, or by Donald Trump, or by whoever is calling the shots at this point, is the decision to defend Alexander Acosta at all. This is going to end with his resignation sooner or later. Trump could potentially score points with low information voters by firing Acosta now and pretending to be shocked at his past behavior. Instead Trump is sticking with Acosta – which seemingly says something about why Trump felt compelled to hire Acosta to begin with.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report