President Donald Trump won’t stop tweeting about a long-disproven conspiracy theory about a young woman who died in then-Congressman Joe Scarborough’s office in 2001.
Now the widower of congressional aide Lori Klausutis is asking Twitter to step in and take down a series of tweets by Trump and Donald Trump Jr. implying Scarborough murdered her and had had an affair with her.
“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 wrote Tuesday morning.
Trump’s tweets came after the New York Times published Klausutis’ May 21 letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, as part of a Tuesday op-ed by tech journalist Kara Swisher.
“Nearly 19 years ago, my wife, who had an undiagnosed heart condition, fell and hit her head on her desk at work,” Timothy Klausutis wrote in the letter. “She was found dead the next morning. Her name is Lori Kaye Klausutis and she was 28 years old when she died. Her passing is the single most painful thing that I have ever had to deal with in my 52 years and continues to haunt her parents and sister.”
At the time, Klausutis was an aide for Scarborough, who was then a Republican congressman from Florida. Klausutis’ death was ruled an accident, but as Trump’s feud with Scarborough has escalated, the president has repeatedly implied that Scarborough killed her, saying that the case of Klausutis’ death should be investigated again.
“The frequency, intensity, ugliness, and promulgation of these horrifying lies ever increases on the internet. These conspiracy theorists, including most recently the president of the United States, continue to spread their bile and misinformation on your platform disparaging the memory of my wife and our marriage,” Klausutis wrote.
Specifically, Lori Klausutis’ widower asked Dorsey to delete two of Trump’s tweets about his wife’s death, as well as another tweet by Donald Trump Jr. asking when Scarborough would go on TV to “discuss” the death of Klausutis. “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,” Timothy Klausutis said.
“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,” Klausutis added.
A Twitter spokesperson told VICE News that Twitter was “deeply sorry about these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family,” but did not say the company would delete the tweets.
“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,” the spokesperson said.
Cover: U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk on the South Lawn of the White House after arriving on Marine One in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, May 25, 2020. (Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)