On August 6 2020, the Facebook page “Americans Against The Republican Party “shared the following image of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and United States President Donald Trump, along with a quote:
White text with a photograph of a younger Trump and Epstein read:
“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”
New York Magazine — 2002
Although the post on Facebook was shared in August 2020, it circulated in the summer of 2019 too:
Variations of the quote and various images showing both Trump and Epstein were not often accompanied by information about the source or context of the commentary. On occasion, the year 2002 was mentioned, and less frequently, New York Magazine was an unlinked source.
We located the commentary on the memes in an article on NYMag.com (with the headline, “Jeffrey Epstein: International Moneyman of Mystery”), dated October 28 2002. It began, describing Epstein as having a “life full of question marks,” and indicating he was “said to run $15 billion for wealthy clients, yet aside from Limited founder Leslie Wexner, his client list is a closely held secret.”
Immediately thereafter, two unnamed sources are quoted speculating about Epstein’s business and general lifestyle. Both sources opined Epstein was hard to pin down, and one described his “whole thing” as “weird”:
“My belief is that Jeff maintains some sort of money-management firm, though you won’t get a straight answer from him,” says one well-known investor. “He once told me he had 300 people working for him, and I’ve also heard that he manages Rockefeller money. But one never knows. It’s like looking at the Wizard of Oz – there may be less there than meets the eye.”
Says another prominent Wall Streeter: “He is this mysterious, Gatsbyesque figure. He likes people to think that he is very rich, and he cultivates this air of aloofness. The whole thing is weird.”
New York magazine then delved into a direct description of Epstein, leading into their first named source in the piece — Donald Trump, who was by then already well known but not yet a politician:
The wizard that meets the eye [Epstein] is spare and fit; with a long jaw and a carefully coiffed head of silver hair, he looks like a taller, younger Ralph Lauren. A raspy Brooklyn accent betrays his Coney Island origins. He spends an hour and fifteen minutes every day doing advanced yoga with his personal instructor, who travels with him wherever he goes. He is an enthusiastic member of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations.
He dresses casually — jeans, open-necked shirts, and sneakers — and is rarely seen in a tie. Indeed, those close to him say the reason he quit his board seat at the Rockefeller Institute was that he hated wearing a suit. “It feels like a dress,” he told one friend.
Epstein likes to tell people that he’s a loner, a man who’s never touched alcohol or drugs, and one whose nightlife is far from energetic. And yet if you talk to Donald Trump, a different Epstein emerges. “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” Trump booms from a speakerphone. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
The meme’s quote is authentic and was accurately transcribed. Trump spoke to New York magazine in 2002 for a profile on Epstein, telling the author they’d been acquainted since the late 1980s (for “fifteen years”), that Epstein was a “terrific guy,” and that it was “said he likes beautiful women” as much as Trump, “many of them … on the younger side.”