UPDATED: Twitter is not immediately removing President Donald Trump’s tweets about the 2001 death of an aide to Joe Scarborough, even though her widower asked the platform’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, to remove them.
Timothy Klausutis, the husband of Lori Klausutis, wrote in a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey last week, “My request is simple: Please delete these tweets.”
His wife died in 2001 when she was serving as a staff member to Scarborough, who was then a congressman from Florida. Kara Swisher obtained Klausutis’ letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and included it as part of a column that was published on Tuesday.
Over the weekend, Trump again tweeted out debunked conspiracy theories about the circumstances surrounding Klausutis’ death, suggesting that Scarborough, one of his frequent critics, was somehow implicated. As her husband pointed out in his letter, she had an undiagnosed heart condition and fell and hit her head at work, a conclusion the coroner reached following an investigation.
In his letter, Timothy Klausutis wrote to Dorsey, “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 argued that the president’s tweets violate Twitter’s 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 also referred to a tweet from Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr.
“The frequency, intensity, ugliness, and promulgation of these horrifying lies ever increases on the internet,” Timothy Klausutis wrote. “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.”
A spokesperson for Twitter indicated that they would be updating their policies, but Trump’s tweets were not removed.
“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.”
Trump, upset over some of Scarborough’s criticism on Morning Joe, has lashed out at the host by claiming that the case is a “cold case,” even though it is not. Over the weekend, Trump tweeted, “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). Keep digging, use forensic geniuses!”
As Swisher’s New York Times’ column was drawing attention on air and online on Tuesday, Trump tweeted at 8:53 AM ET, “The opening of a Cold Case against Psycho Joe Scarborough.” It was then deleted.
About a half hour later, he continued to present the circumstances surrounding Klausutis’ death as a mystery.
He wrote, “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. 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? 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?”
Last week, when Trump tweeted about Klausutis’ death, Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, Scarborough’s wife, called on Twitter’s Dorsey to take action, calling the president’s tweet “sick.”
Scarborough talked Timothy Klausutis’s letter on Morning Joe on Tuesday, and Brzezinski read it in full. They noted that Swisher, in her column, made comparisons to what families of the Sandy Hook shootings have had to endure amid conspiracy claims, including those coming from Alex Jones, as well as the family of Seth Rich, the former Democratic National Committee staffer.
“It is unspeakably cruel, whether it is the president or people following the president,” Scarborough said. “…These are not public figures nor have they ever been public figures.”
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