Add this to the list of issues on which President Trump has flip-flopped: His relationship with O.J. Simpson.
As Simpson heads into what has been dubbed “the parole hearing of the century” on Thursday, Trump has thus far managed to stay away from the story, not offering so much as an early morning tweet.
But in a long-gone version of America — one where Trump wasn’t in the White House, Simpson wasn’t in prison for robbery and both men appeared to innocently feed off every scrap of media coverage — the two seemed to share an on-off affection.
Even after Simpson earned criminal infamy, and Trump started publicly condemning him, The Donald still admitted that he admired The Juice for his media power.
The two were pictured together in October 1993, celebrating the opening of the now-defunct Harley Davidson Cafe in New York City. In what might be the only picture of Trump and Simpson side-by-side, they are all smiles as they pose with retired Mets player Keith Hernandez and Trump’s little daughter, Ivanka.
And there was Simpson two months later at Trump’s wedding, as the business mogul tied the knot with his second bride, Marla Maples.
Simpson offered the media there a little dig at Trump’s troubles with commitment.
“I think everybody in the country believes maybe their relationship can work, if this relationship can work,” he said at the wedding.
Six months later, the former football star was arrested for the murder of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.
Thus began the trial of the century, which took over the nation’s attention for seven months until Simpson was acquitted in 1995. (He would be held liable for wrongful death two years later, though, in a civil suit filed by the victims’ families.)
Amazingly, there is little record of Trump commenting on the trial that dominated the headlines, beyond a few poorly sourced tabloid tidbits.
Nor did Trump seem to speak up when Simpson was arrested in 2007 for armed robbery and kidnapping charges, which led to him getting sentenced to 33 years in prison the next year.
Trump’s only documented remark about the case came in a 2004 Howard Stern interview, in which he recalled seeing Simpson’s wife “screaming at him” in a Los Angeles restaurant.
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“He decided obviously to kill her,” Trump said, with a laugh.
In 2008, as Simpson was about to begin his time behind bars, Trump admitted he thought the two would be a perfect duo for reality TV.
Trump said in a 2008 Stern interview that he wanted to cast Simpson in the upcoming ninth season of “The Apprentice” — because he loved thinking about how great the ratings would be.
“In your business, there’s a thing called ratings,” Trump told Stern.
“I found out a lot about your business, because, hey, I’m the biggest star. I’m now the biggest star … So I know that if you come up with a cure for cancer, and if you put it on, and if it doesn’t get ratings, they will not broadcast it. So, you come with a cure for a disease — no good.”
“Now I know this,” he added.
“If I put O.J. on — huge ratings. Oh, forget it, 35 million people.”
Trump claimed NBC “went totally crazy” over the pitch. But he said he stopped short of an offer because, as he put it, he “realized (Simpson) killed his wife.”
“I don’t like people that kill their wives,” the future President said.
“Does that make sense? Does that make me a disloyal person? I like women. I mean, I don’t even like guys that beat up women — you get a lot of those guy.”
Trump, who today faces a series of sexual harassment allegations, made sure to mention that he’s not one of those guys.
“I’m a lover, not a fighter,” he said.
“Great lover, poor fighter.”
The whole story, though, might have been fake news from Trump. NBC later said in a statement that it “never considered O.J. Simpson for the next season of ‘The Apprentice,’ nor will.”
In the Stern interviews, Trump casually mentioned how he used to hang out and play golf with Simpson.
With Simpson now locked up, and therefore out of the headlines for years, he also seemed to fall off of Trump’s radar.
The only known mention since 2008 came when Trump grew outraged about another celebrity murder trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius, the South African sprinter who would eventually be convicted murdering his girlfriend.
Trump let it be known on Twitter that he condemned Pistorius — as well as his old pal Simpson.
“Oscar Pistorious, ‘the blade runner,’ is as guilty as O.J. I wonder if the result will be the same?” Trump tweeted in April 2014, spelling the athlete’s surname incorrectly.
Five months later, Pistorius was found not guilty of premeditated murder, though he would later be convicted of culpable homicide and, ultimately, murder.
Trump, once again, slammed Simpson on Twitter while raging about the case.
“I can’t believe that the judge in the Oscar Pistorious case has found him not guilty of murder. No one has been more guilty since O.J.!” he tweeted, once again getting the athlete’s name wrong.
That was the second time Trump said on Twitter that Simpson was guilty of a crime for which he was not convicted.
Two years later, after he secured the Republican presidential nomination, Trump started doing the same thing to another one of his former wedding guests: Hillary Clinton.