WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic presidential contenders Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker slammed U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday for selling unfounded conspiracy theories in regards to the obvious suicide of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein in his New York jail cell.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke crosses the Paso del Norte Worldwide border bridge to attend the funeral providers for one of many victims of final weekend’s mass shootings at a Walmart retailer, in El Paso, Texas, U.S., as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico August eight, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
After the demise on Saturday of Epstein, a millionaire charged with intercourse trafficking who as soon as counted Trump and former President Invoice Clinton as buddies, Trump retweeted a baseless declare from a conservative comic that Clinton was concerned within the demise.
“That is one other instance of our president utilizing this place of public belief to assault his political enemies with unfounded conspiracy theories,” O’Rourke, a former congressman from Texas, stated on CNN’s State of the Union.
O’Rourke stated Trump was attempting to shift the general public’s focus away from final weekend’s two lethal mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, which have led to new requires gun restrictions and criticism of Trump’s divisive anti-immigrant and racially charged rhetoric.
“He’s altering the dialog, and if we permit him to do this then we are going to by no means have the ability to concentrate on the true issues, of which he is a component,” O’Rourke stated from his hometown of El Paso.
Booker, a U.S. senator from New Jersey, stated Trump’s retweet was “simply extra recklessness.”
“He’s giving life to not simply conspiracy theories however actually whipping individuals up into anger and worse towards totally different individuals on this nation,” he stated on CNN.
The FBI and the Division of Justice’s Inspector Common have opened investigations into the demise of Epstein, who a supply stated had been taken off suicide watch. Final month, Epstein was discovered unconscious on the ground of his jail cell with marks on his neck, and officers had been investigating that incident as a attainable suicide or assault.
U.S. Legal professional Common William Barr stated he was “appalled” to study of the obvious suicide in federal custody. “Mr. Epstein’s demise raises severe questions that have to be answered,” Barr stated in an announcement on Saturday.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic congresswoman from New York Metropolis and a number one progressive voice, tweeted: “We’d like solutions. A number of them.”
White Home senior adviser Kellyanne Conway stated investigation of Epstein ought to proceed regardless of his demise.
“Jeffrey Epstein has completed some very unhealthy issues over quite a lot of years, so let’s proceed to research that,” she stated on Fox Information Sunday. “I don’t assume that any person’s crimes and the accountability for that essentially perish with them.”
Greater than a decade in the past, Epstein pleaded responsible in Florida to state prices of solicitation of prostitution from a minor in a take care of prosecutors that has been broadly criticized as too lenient.
Then in July, Epstein was indicted, federal prosecutors in New York accusing him of knowingly recruiting underage girls to interact in intercourse acts with him, generally over a interval of years whereas paying the ladies for every encounter. He pleaded not responsible.
O’Rourke and Booker are amongst two dozen candidates looking for the Democratic nomination to problem Republican Trump for the White Home in 2020. Almost all of these Democrats have condemned Trump’s incendiary rhetoric for inflaming racial tensions and anger.
“We’ve seen individuals’s lives being threatened as a result of this president whips up hatred. It is a very harmful president that we’ve now,” Booker stated.
Trump had retweeted on Saturday a message from conservative comic and commentator Terrence Okay. Williams, who stated partially that Epstein “had data on Invoice Clinton & now he’s useless.”
Clinton spokesman Angel Urena blasted Trump for making the suggestion. “Ridiculous, and naturally not true – and Donald Trump is aware of it. Has he triggered the 25th Modification but?” he stated, referring to the procedures for changing the president in occasion of elimination or incapacitation.
Trump has a historical past of selling conspiracy theories about political rivals. Even earlier than he was a presidential candidate, Trump repeatedly questioned whether or not former President Barack Obama was born in the USA, even after Obama produced a delivery certificates proving that he was.
In the course of the Republican presidential nomination race in 2016, Trump unfold an unfounded conspiracy concept linking the daddy of rival U.S. Senator Ted Cruz to the assassination of former President John Kennedy, a declare Cruz denounced as a lie.
Reporting by John Whitesides; Extra reporting by Andrea Shalal; Modifying by Mary Milliken and Grant McCool