Fox News has apologised for cropping Donald Trump out of a picture of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.
Maxwell, a British socialite, was arrested last week in New Hampshire for her alleged role in recruiting, grooming and sexually abusing underaged girls with Epstein. Detained in Brooklyn, she is due in court in New York this week.
The full picture used by Fox News on Sunday – and widely elsewhere – shows Maxwell and Epstein with Donald Trump and his wife Melania (then his girlfriend) at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in February 2000.
In a statement about its interview with an attorney representing victims of Epstein, Fox News said: “On Sunday, 5 July, 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.”
It is not clear if Trump saw the segment in question.
On Sunday, speaking to CBS, former national security adviser John Bolton criticised the president for 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”, versus “the amount of time he spends actually in the Oval Office”.
Fox News’ decision to crop Trump out of an Epstein picture – and subsequent expression of regret – echoed a decision by Trump’s son Eric Trump to tweet a picture of Maxwell attending Chelsea Clinton’s wedding.
“Birds of a feather,” Eric Trump wrote, accompanying a picture of Maxwell watching former president Clinton walk his daughter up the aisle.
After many observers pointed to numerous pictures and videos of Eric Trump’s father with Epstein, the tweet was deleted.
Observers also shared a New Yorker profile of Donald Trump from 1997, which described Maxwell “bumming a ride” to Mar-a-Lago on Trump’s private plane, on which Eric Trump, then 13, was also a passenger.
“Eric Trump, who tweeted earlier about Bill Clinton and Ghislaine Maxwell, was literally himself on his dad’s private jet with her,” wrote the journalist Mehdi Hasan. “FFS. You cannot make this stuff up.”