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- While President Donald Trump has dismissed his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, The New York Times reported that Epstein has claimed he introduced Trump to his third wife, Melania.
- In a 2017 Vanity Fair profile, Melania said she asked for Trump’s number at a Fashion Week party in 1998 at the Kit Kat Club in Times Square.
- Trump and Melania have never mentioned Epstein’s involvement in their romance, but they were friends with the wealthy financier in the late ’90s, when he would attend parties at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, where the two lived nearby each other.
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President Donald Trump has sought to distance himself from wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, who is now facing charges of sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy, playing down their past relationship.
Epstein, however, attempted to highlight his connections to the new commander-in-chief — and the first lady. After Trump was elected president, Epstein started claiming that he was the one who introduced Trump to then-Slovenian model Melania Knauss, The New York Times reported.
But the first lady’s account of how she met Trump met doesn’t mention Epstein at all. She told Vanity Fair for a 2017 profile that she was at a party during Fashion Week 1998 at the Kit Kat Club in Times Square, thrown by Metropolitan Models co-owner Paolo Zampolli.
Melania told Vanity Fair that Trump approached her while his own date was in the bathroom and asked for her phone number. She then "proudly" recounted how she asked Trump for his instead.
Trump has never mentioned Epstein’s alleged involvement in their romance, either.
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Epstein wouldn’t have been out of place that night during New York Fashion Week, since he had established contacts within the modeling industry by that point.
Epstein had also moved into his New York residence by 1998, and stories from his accusers detail his presence in the modeling industry, with one former model saying she’s been told he was "in charge of Victoria’s Secret." Epstein had a close relationship with Les Wexner, the CEO of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company.
For a 2002 profile of Epstein in New York Magazine, Trump said the financier was a "terrific guy" and "a lot of fun to be with." He noted that Epstein "likes beautiful women," with many "on the younger side."
Since Epstein was charged, Trump has said they had "a falling out a long time ago."
"The reason doesn’t make any difference, frankly," Trump said on July 12. "But I haven’t spoken to him in probably 15 years or more. I wasn’t a big fan of Jeffrey Epstein, that I can tell you."
- Read more:
- Everything we know about Trump’s connection to financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was charged with sex trafficking
- Donald and Melania Trump have been on and off for 20 years — here’s a timeline of their relationship
- The famous connections of Jeffrey Epstein, the elite wealth manager charged with sex trafficking young girls
- Meet Jeffrey Epstein, the financier arrested on suspicion of sex trafficking who’s rubbed elbows with Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, and Kevin Spacey
- Inside the marriage of Donald and Melania Trump
- Epstein sexually abused victims while serving his Florida jail sentence, an attorney representing some of his accusers says
- In Epstein bail hearing, federal prosecutors claimed that a 1980s passport with Saudi connections had Epstein’s photo but a different name
- ‘I just grabbed the vibrator and threw it at his head’: Former model says she escaped Epstein in 2004 after she was told he was ‘in charge of Victoria’s Secret’