Fact Check

Did Trump Once Say Jeffrey Epstein Was a 'Terrific Guy' Who 'Likes Beautiful Women as Much as I Do'?

This old, genuine quote was reshared in December 2023 amid news about a list of Epstein's associates and victims being made public.

Published Dec 21, 2023

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Image Via Getty Images
Donald Trump said in 2002 that Jeffrey Epstein was a "terrific guy," and added, "It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side."

On Dec. 18, 2023, a U.S. federal judge ordered that a list of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein's associates and victims would be made public in 2024. Most of the names that would be revealed were already public, The Associated Press reported.

After this news broke, users on Facebook, X and Truth Social reposted an old quote they attributed to former U.S. President Donald Trump. According to the posts, Trump had once praised Epstein as being a "terrific guy," and added, "It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side."

A rumor said that Donald Trump once called Jeffrey Epstein a terrific guy and said the words, it is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger sideA sampling of the many posts on X that featured the quote.

This was a genuine quote from Trump. It appeared in the article, "Jeffrey Epstein: International Moneyman of Mystery." The story was published by New York Magazine on Oct. 28, 2002, just over 14 years before Trump claimed victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

According to the article, Trump had spoken the words in the quote during a phone interview:

Epstein likes to tell people that he’s a loner, a man who’s never touched alcohol or drugs, and one whose nightlife is far from energetic. And yet if you talk to Donald Trump, a different Epstein emerges. “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” Trump booms from a speakerphone. “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. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

Trump Was Asked About the Quote in 2019

On July 6, 2019, Epstein was arrested and indicted on charges of the sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.

Three days later, on July 9, Trump was asked by an unidentified reporter in the Oval Office, "Do you still think Jeffrey Epstein is a 'terrific guy?'"

In response, Trump said three times that he was not a "fan" of Epstein's:

Well, I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him. I mean, people in Palm Beach knew him. He was a fixture in Palm Beach. I 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. I was not, yeah, a long time ago, I'd say maybe 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you. I was not a fan of his.

At the time, Politico posted a video of Trump's full answer:

Weeks later, on Aug. 10, Epstein was found dead in his jail cell. An autopsy ruled it was a suicide by hanging. His death set off a wave of new conspiracy theories.

Trump On Ghislaine Maxwell: 'I Wish Her Well'

In a related remark, in July 2020, Trump was asked about the case involving Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, who, at the time, the U.S. Justice Department had just arrested and charged for conspiring with Epstein to sexually abuse minors. During his answer, Trump said, "I just wish her well, frankly." He then mentioned a second time, "I wish her well."

More than one year later, on Dec. 29, 2021, Maxwell was convicted of multiple charges. She was then sentenced to 20 years in prison for what the U.S. Justice Department described as "her role in a scheme to sexually exploit and abuse multiple minor girls with Jeffrey Epstein over the course of a decade."

Days prior to her conviction, the Miami Herald published information about flights that Trump had taken on Epstein's jets. According to the reporting, Epstein's flight logs were released as evidence in Maxwell's trial. The logs showed that Trump had flown at least seven times, with all of the flights being between Palm Beach, Florida and New York City airports. Meanwhile, former U.S. President Bill Clinton had flown on Epstein's jets at least nine times. In a statement, a spokesperson for Clinton said in 2019 that Clinton knew "nothing" about Epstein's crimes. The Herald noted that neither of the two former presidents had been accused of sexual misconduct involving Epstein.

We previously published many other articles that covered additional claims involving Trump, Clinton and Epstein, including rumors about various real and fake photos and videos. Further, for more information about the Epstein scandal, we recommend this detailed timeline.


“A Timeline of the Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell Scandal.” The Associated Press, 28 June 2022, https://apnews.com/article/epstein-maxwell-timeline-b9f15710fabb72e8581c71e94acf513e.

“Ghislaine Maxwell Charged In Manhattan Federal Court For Conspiring With Jeffrey Epstein To Sexually Abuse Minors | United States Department of Justice.” Southern District of New York, 2 July 2020, https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/ghislaine-maxwell-charged-manhattan-federal-court-conspiring-jeffrey-epstein-sexually.

“Ghislaine Maxwell Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Conspiring With Jeffrey Epstein To Sexually Abuse Minors | United States Department of Justice.” Southern District of New York, 28 June 2022, https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/ghislaine-maxwell-sentenced-20-years-prison-conspiring-jeffrey-epstein-sexually-abuse.

Hays, Tom, and Larry Neumeister. “Ghislaine Maxwell Convicted in Epstein Sex Abuse Case.” The Associated Press, 30 Dec. 2021, https://apnews.com/article/ghislaine-maxwell-convicted-jeffrey-epstein-trial-verdict-63a71a2825eab41184a79e37bb967e90.

Hill, James, and Aaron Katersky. “Federal Judge Orders Documents Naming Jeffrey Epstein’s Associates to Be Unsealed.” ABC News, 19 Dec. 2023, https://abcnews.go.com/US/federal-judge-orders-documents-naming-jeffrey-epsteins-associates/story?id=105779882.

“Jeffrey Epstein Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Sex Trafficking Of Minors | United States Department of Justice.” Southern District of New York, 8 July 2019, https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/jeffrey-epstein-charged-manhattan-federal-court-sex-trafficking-minors.

“Judge Orders Release of over 150 Names of People Mentioned in Jeffrey Epstein Lawsuit Documents.” The Associated Press, 19 Dec. 2023, https://apnews.com/article/jeffrey-epstein-ghislaine-maxwell-financier-names-released-8ce48f838d61c853efe643977ccc1bb1.

Karni, Annie, and Maggie Haberman. “Jeffrey Epstein Was a ‘Terrific Guy,’ Donald Trump Once Said. Now He’s ‘Not a Fan.’” The New York Times, 10 July 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/09/us/politics/trump-epstein.html.

@politico. “Reporter: Do You Still Think Jeffrey Epstein Is a ‘Terrific Guy’?” X, 9 July 2019, https://twitter.com/politico/status/1148638639213043713.

Tabachnick, Tara. “List of Jeffrey Epstein’s Associates Named in Lawsuit Must Be Unsealed, Judge Rules. Here Are Details on the Document Release.” CBS News, 19 Dec. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jeffrey-epstein-list-associates-unsealed-judge-rules/.

Thomas Jr., Landon. “Jeffrey Epstein: International Moneyman of Mystery.” New York Magazine, 28 Oct. 2002, https://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/n_7912/.

“Trump Says of Ghislaine Maxwell, ‘I Wish Her Well.’” YouTube, The Associated Press, 21 July 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkrnWRIavAU.

Watson, Michelle, et al. “Dozens of Documents Naming Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims and Associates to Be Made Public in 2024.” CNN, 19 Dec. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/12/19/us/jeffrey-epstein-victims-associates-order/index.html.

Wieder, Ben, and Julie K. Brown. “Maxwell Case Logs Show How Frequently Trump Flew on Epstein Jets; Bill Clinton, Too.” Miami Herald, 21 Dec. 2021, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article256740662.html.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.