The widower of a former congressional staffer of Joe Scarborough has gone directly to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey with a plea: Delete President Trump's conspiracy theories suggesting that Scarborough killed his wife. Trump has been pushing the idea hard of late that Scarborough, now at MSNBC, played a role in the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, and Timothy Klausutis is now pushing back. Coverage:
- The letter: Trump "tweeted to his nearly 80 million followers alluding to the repeatedly debunked falsehood that my wife was murdered by her boss, former U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough," Klausutis wrote in a letter to Dorsey that was first revealed by Kara Swisher in a New York Times column. "Please delete these tweets. My wife deserves better." At another point: "I'm asking you to intervene in this instance because the president of the United States has taken something that does not belong to him—the memory of my dead wife—and perverted it for perceived political gain."
- Another line: "An ordinary user like me would be banished from the platform for such a tweet but I am only asking that these tweets be removed."
- The death: Lori Klausutis, 28, worked as a constituent services coordinator, and she died in Scarborough's office in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. An autopsy found that she suffered from an undiagnosed heart condition, and authorities concluded that she fainted and struck her head, reports Newsweek. Scarborough was actually in DC at the time of her death, notes Axios.
- Trump: The president has tweeted multiple times about the death. An example: "A blow to her head? Body found under his desk? Left Congress suddenly? Big topic of discussion in Florida ... and, he's a Nut Job (with bad ratings)," Trump wrote Saturday. "Keep digging, use forensic geniuses!" On Tuesday, Trump revisited the subject: "The opening of a Cold Case against Psycho Joe Scarborough was not a Donald Trump original thought, this has been going on for years, long before I joined the chorus," he wrote.
- Twitter response: Twitter has not removed the Trump posts, notes Politico. "We are deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family," said a spokesperson. "We've been working to expand existing product features and policies so we can more effectively address things like this going forward, and we hope to have those changes in place shortly." Swisher's column reports that the company is speeding up plans to label some tweets as false and provide links to credible information refuting them.
- Scarborough response: What Trump is doing is "unspeakably cruel" to the Klausutis family, Scarborough said Tuesday on his show, per Cleveland.com. "I know all too well how much (widower) T.J. has suffered, and how much—he's told me his family has suffered. ... Every time they spread these lies, they're hurting the family."
- Fact-checker: The Fact Checker blog of the Washington Post previously dug into the conspiracy theories and concluded they're bunk. They received the worst possible score of Four Pinocchios, "and we wish we had more to give."
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