The husband of Lori Klausutis, the deceased staffer of former Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-FL), has called on Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey to delete tweets posted by President Donald Trump that baselessly accuse Scarborough of murdering his dead wife, saying the president has “perverted” the memory of her for political gain.
Over the past few weeks, the president has shamelessly taken to his Twitter account to peddle long-debunked conspiracy theories that Scarborough—now the host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe—killed Klausutis while still a member of Congress in 2001.
Trump, who previously tossed out the false accusation in 2017, has called on law enforcement to open the “Cold Case” and followers to “use forensic geniuses” to look into Klausutis’ death, despite the fact that authorities found no sign of foul play and her death was ruled an accident due to an abnormal heart rhythm. Trump has ramped up his conspiratorial tweets as Scarborough has continued to be highly critical of him on-air, largely over Trump’s coronavirus pandemic response.
In the letter sent to Dorsey, first obtained by New York Times columnist Kara Swisher, Timothy Klausutis pleaded with the Twitter chief to “please delete those tweets,” adding that his “wife deserves better.”
Noting that Trump’s tweets were followed by the president’s son amplifying the “vicious lie,” Mr. Klausutis observed that Trump’s posts that his wife was murdered without any evidence and contrary to public evidence would appear to directly violate Twitter’s own terms of service. “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,” he wrote.
“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,” Mr. Klausutis continued. “I would also ask that you consider Lori’s niece and two nephews who will eventually come across this filth in the future. They have never met their Aunt and it pains me to think they would ever have to learn about her this way.”
On Tuesday morning, a Twitter spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Beast that the social media giant would not, in fact, be taking any enforcement action on the tweets at this time.
“We are deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family,” the spokesperson said. “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.”
During Tuesday’s broadcast of Morning Joe, Scarborough and the rest of the crew—including wife and co-host Mika Brzezinski, who has already contacted Dorsey about Trump’s tweets—discussed the letter and the president’s repeated attacks, pointing out how much Lori Klausutis’ “family has suffered.”
“The idea that T.J. now has to deal with this again, sit down and write this letter, is truly appalling,” co-host Willie Geist said. “Whatever humanity the president may have, I hope he would appeal to it and listen to Lori’s husband.”
Last week, as she was calling on Dorsey to take down the tweets, Brzezinski directly addressed the president on air, calling him a “cruel, sick, disgusting person” and that he should be ashamed of himself.
The president, however, seemed unfazed by Mr. Klausutis’ plea to stop using his dead wife’s memory to take potshots at a critical cable news host. In a series of tweets Tuesday morning, Trump claimed he was just repeating others by bringing up the conspiracies.
“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 tweeted.
“In 2016 when Joe & his wacky future ex-wife, Mika, would endlessly interview me, I would always be thinking about whether or not Joe could have done such a horrible thing?” Trump added. “Maybe or maybe not, but I find Joe to be a total Nut Job, and I knew him well, far better than most. So many unanswered & obvious questions, but I won’t bring them up now! Law enforcement eventually will?”