The husband of a woman who died accidentally in an office of former congressman Joe Scarborough two decades ago is demanding that Twitter remove U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets suggesting Scarborough, now a fierce Trump critic, killed her.
“My request is simple: Please delete these tweets,” Timothy J. Klausutis wrote to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
“I am 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.”
The body of Lori Kaye Klausutis, 28, was found in Scarborough’s Fort Walton Beach, Fla., congressional office on July 20, 2001.
Timothy Klausutis said in the letter, sent last week, that his wife had an undiagnosed heart condition and fell and hit her head on her desk at work. He called her death “the single most painful thing that I have ever had to deal with” and said he feels a marital obligation to protect her memory amid “a constant barrage of falsehoods, half-truths, innuendo and conspiracy theories since the day she died.”
Klausutis said Trump is among the conspiracy theorists spreading “bile and misinformation” on Twitter “disparaging the memory” of his wife and their marriage.
Trump’s tweets violate Twitter’s community rules and terms of service, he said.
“An ordinary user like me would be banished,” Klausutis wrote.
In a statement issued to CNN Tuesday, Twitter said it was “deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family.”
But the company did not mention Trump’s tweets directly and did not say whether it would do anything about them.
“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 statement said.
Twitter said last year that tweets from public figures with more than 100,000 users that are considered in the public interest but violate the service’s rules would be obscured by a warning explaining the violation, but there is no indication that has occurred with the Trump tweets concerning Klausutis’s death.
Trump tweets continuing today
Trump has long feuded with Scarborough, now a co-host with his wife Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe show, but since April 30 the attacks have taken a darker turn, with seven tweets or retweets referring in some fashion to Klausutis’s death.
Trump has repeatedly tried to implicate Scarborough even though he was in Washington at the time of her death.
Trump tweeted this month: “When will they open a Cold Case on the Psycho Joe Scarborough matter in Florida. Did he get away with murder? Some people think so. Why did he leave Congress so quietly and quickly? Isn’t it obvious? What’s happening now? A total nut job!”
He echoed that “cold case” allegation in a new tweet on Tuesday.
Foul play not suspected
Trump also has asked via Twitter if NBC would fire the political talk show host based on the “unsolved mystery” years ago in Florida. “Investigate!” he tweeted in 2017.
But there is no mystery.
Medical officials ruled that Lori Kaye Klausutis, who had a heart condition and told friends hours earlier that she wasn’t feeling well, had fainted and hit her head. Foul play was not suspected.
The television hosts have previously urged the president to stop his baseless attacks, with Brzezinski last week also making a direct appeal to Dorsey.
Democrats and other social media users expressed displeasure on Memorial Day weekend with several Trump tweets or retweets attacking notable women, including one that disparaged former Georgia politician Stacy Abrams’s weight and another that referred to Hillary Clinton as a “skank.”