One can not say with any level of assurance what impact the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein last week, or the subsequent resignation of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, will have on the politics of 2020 and on Donald Trump’s re-election campaign in particular. But it surely helps emphasize one of Trump’s weaknesses.
During the 2016 campaign, an audiotape surfaced of Donald Trump talking in graphic terms about how celebrity status would allow him to get away with grabbing the private parts of women. Trump has in fact been accused of sexual assault by a number of women, most recently by E. Jean Carroll, a former Elle magazine advice columnist. In September 2018, Christine Blasey Ford, a professor of psychology at Palo Alto University, came forward with accusations that she was assaulted in 1982 by Brett Kavanaugh, who was at the time of the accusation President Trump’s nominee for an open seat on the US Supreme Court.
Ford’s testimony did not derail the Kavanaugh confirmation process: he is Justice Kavanagh now.
In the light of all this, one might presume that the last thing the Trump 2020 re-election campaign needs is any connection between the administration on the one hand and convicted, now re-arrested, sex offender Jeffrey Epstein on the other.
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On the other hand, if the Democratic candidate seeks to score points during next year’s campaign on the basis of this connection, the President and his partisans will be sure to point out that Epstein had a personal relationship for some years with former President Bill Clinton, still an important ‘elder statesman’ in that Party. Epstein was a great networker, and given his disgraced state at present there may be many more shoes to drop.