WASHINGTON — A Trump administration official and friend of the Trump family promoted a conspiracy theory about the apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced financier and friend to the powerful who was in jail facing charges of federal sex trafficking.
Lynne Patton, who works at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, posted a screenshot of a news story about Epstein’s reported suicide. In the caption Patton wrote, “Hillary’d!!” suggesting that Hillary Clinton had played a role in Epstein’s death. Patton also added the hashtag “#VinceFosterPartTwo” which refers to a long-running and baseless conspiracy theory about the tragic suicide of a former lawyer in Bill Clinton’s White House named Vince Foster. HUD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Here is Patton’s Instagram post:
Patton earned nearly $162,000 in 2017 as an administrator overseeing one of the largest regional offices at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Before joining the Trump administration, she worked as a senior adviser and liaison on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign; before that she worked for eight years as a vice president at Eric Trump’s foundation and as a “senior aide” to the Trump family, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Patton has repeatedly stirred up controversy since joining the federal government, where of course her six-figure salary is paid for by American taxpayers. Most recently, in May, Patton said she shared on both her personal and government Twitter accounts a message that was supportive of her boss, HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, and critical Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
“Just retweeted this amazing tweet from both of my Twitter accounts – professional and personal,” Patton wrote on Facebook. She said that sharing the tweet from her official government “may be a Hatch Act violation” which prohibits federal employees “from engaging in partisan political activity.” “Either way,” Patton wrote, “I honestly don’t care anymore.”
And in 2018, she shared a meme that accused CNN anchor Anderson Cooper of exaggerating the amount of flooding Texas experienced during Hurricane Ike in 2008. “You know it’s sad when even the WEATHER is #FakeNews,” she wrote. “🤬😤 #StayWokeMyFriends.”
Patton gained notoriety when Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) had her stand behind him at a congressional hearing to refute former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s testimony that the president “is a racist.” Meadows said, “I asked Lynne to come today in her personal capacity to actually shed some light. She says that as a daughter of a man born in Birmingham, Ala., that there is no way that she would work for an individual who was racist.” The move drew criticism from Democrats including Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) who said Meadows used Patton as “a prop.”
She also signed an agreement in March to appear on a reality show about Black Republicans that was in early development, saying she had permission from the Trump family. “Look, they know I tend to put my foot in my mouth,” Patton said. “They were a little concerned that maybe with some alcohol I might be a little too freewheeling on a show like this … But they were very supportive.”
Patton posts memes frequently on her Instagram account attacking Democrats and praising Trump. But her most recent post accusing the Clintons of involvement in Epstein’s death is particularly egregious, especially for a Trump administration official.
Later in the day, President Donald Trump retweeted two tweets pushing the same theory.
US President Donald Trump has retweeted the completely baseless conspiracy theory implying Epstein was killed by the Clintons. He also boosted an account that spread a falsehood about today's events earlier in the day. pic.twitter.com/5l6dmVGLIK
— Jane Lytvynenko 🤦🏽♀️🤦🏽♀️🤦🏽♀️ (@JaneLytv) August 10, 2019
This post has been updated.