Beto O'Rourke blasts Trump's "unfounded conspiracy theories" as more details emerge on Epstein death

Beto O'Rourke, a Democratic presidential candidate, blasted Trump for his conspiracy theories on Epstein's death

By Matthew Rozsa

Published August 11, 2019 3:45PM (EDT)

Donald Trump; Beto O'Rourke (Getty/Mandel Ngan/Matt Winkelmeyer)
Donald Trump; Beto O'Rourke (Getty/Mandel Ngan/Matt Winkelmeyer)

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, blasted President Donald Trump for promoting conspiracy theories about the apparent suicide of accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, even as more suspicious details emerge about the disgraced billionaire's unexpected death.

"This is another example of our President using this position of public trust to attack his political enemies with unfounded conspiracy theories," O'Rourke told CNN's Jake Tapper. "And also to try to force you and me and all of us to focus on his bizarre behavior instead of the fact that we just lost 22 people in this community, nine people in Dayton, Ohio."

He added, "We're seeing an epidemic of gun violence every single day in this country, and that terrorist attack in El Paso was motivated in part by the president constantly warning of invasions and infestations and predators and Mexican immigrants who he described as 'rapists' and 'criminals,' even though we know they commit crimes at a far lower rate than those who were born in this country."

O'Rourke was referring to a pair of tweets sent out by the president after the news of Epstein's death. The first retweeted a news outlet and said, "BREAKING: Documents were unsealed yesterday revealing that top Democrats, including Bill Clinton, took private trips to Jeffrey Epstein’s 'pedophilia island.'" In an additional tweet, the president quoted a comedian who said "Died of SUICIDE on 24/7 SUICIDE WATCH ? Yeah right! How does that happen #JefferyEpstein had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead I see #TrumpBodyCount trending but we know who did this! RT if you’re not Surprised #EpsteinSuicide #ClintonBodyCount #ClintonCrimeFamily."

The New York Times has reported on troubling irregularities in the events leading up to Epstein's apparent suicide, raising questions about whether corruption may have played a role in the accused sex trafficker's death.

Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who hanged himself in a federal jail in Manhattan, was supposed to have been checked by guards every 30 minutes, but that procedure was not being followed the night before he was found, a law-enforcement official with knowledge of his detention said.

In addition, the jail had transferred his cellmate and allowed Mr. Epstein to be housed alone in a cell just two weeks after he had been taken off suicide watch, a decision that also violated the jail’s normal procedure, two officials said.

Epstein's prison, New York's Metropolitan Correction Center, has also been described as filthy, full of roaches and vermin and staffed by violent guards, according to USA Today. In 1991 lawyers for mob boss John Gotti claimed that the facility deprived their client of "basic human rights" and, as recently as last month, Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán claimed during his sentencing that "since the government will send me to a jail where my name will not ever be heard again, I take this opportunity to say there was no justice here. It has been psychological and mental torture 24 hours a day." One former inmate told Gothamist that "I thought there was nowhere worse than Rikers Island. The cells (are) very small and at nighttime you hear the mouses, see waterbugs in the shower."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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