Donald Trump's Joe Scarborough murder conspiracy theory

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File:Letter to Timothy J. Klausutis to Jack Dorsey (CEO Twitter) requesting removal of Trump's posts.pdf
Letter from Klausutis' widower requesting that Twitter remove President Trump's tweets

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly advocated a baseless conspiracy theory that Joe Scarborough was involved in the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, a constituent services coordinator intern in one of Scarborough’s congressional offices, located in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, while Scarborough was in Congress.[1] Trump labelled Klausutis' death a "cold case" in one of multiple tweets.

Intern's death[edit]

Lori Klausutis was a constituent services coordinator intern in one of Joe Scarborough’s congressional offices, located in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, while Scarborough was in Congress.[1]

Klausutis was found dead on the floor near her desk in the Fort Walton Beach, Florida, office in July 2001.[2] An autopsy by Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Berkland [3] revealed an undiagnosed heart-valve irregularity, floppy mitral valve disease, that caused a cardiac arrhythmia that in turn halted her heart, stopped her breathing, and caused the 28-year-old to lose consciousness, fall, and hit her head on the edge of a desk on July 19, 2001.[2][4][5][6] Mary Potthast, a friend of Klausutis, said she had mentioned having mild seizures during her youth.[2] Klausutis' cause of death was determined at the time of death to be due to natural causes, and local authorities have never attempted to re-investigate because there was no evidence of an alternative explanation for her death.[4][7] Scarborough was in Washington, D.C. at the time of her death in Florida.[8][9][10]

Conspiracy theory and reactions[edit]

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly advocated a conspiracy theory[11][12][7] that Scarborough was involved in the 2001 death of Klausutis.[1] Trump labelled Klausutis' death a "cold case" in one of multiple tweets.

In May 2020, Klausutis's widower, Timothy Klausutis, called for the removal of Trump's tweets. He wrote a letter to Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, saying: "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".[11]

Trump called on his followers to continue to "keep digging" and to "use forensic geniuses" to find out more about the death. Scarborough's co-host of Morning Joe and wife, Mika Brzezinski, called the president a "cruel, sick, disgusting person" for his tweets, and urged Twitter to remove Trump's tweets.[13] Scarborough called Trump's tweet "unspeakably cruel".[14]

Twitter refused to take down Trump's false tweets, and the White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, only stated that her heart was with the family. Twitter stated that statements by the President, even false ones, are newsworthy.[15]

See also[edit]

  • Veracity of statements by Donald Trump
  • List of conspiracy theories promoted by Donald Trump

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Stephanie Sarkis (2020-05-24). "Why Trump Falsely Accuses Scarborough Of A Death". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Stories from 2001 related to Scarborough aide Klausutis' death - Fort Walton Beach, FL". Northwest Florida Daily News. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  3. "State: Aide found dead had said she felt ill". Archived from the original on 2008-10-16. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Grace Panetta. "Trump: Lori Klausutis widower wants someone to 'get to the bottom' of her death". Business Insider. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  5. O'Connell, Oliver (May 20, 2020). "'Their policies being violated every day': Mika Brzezinski complains to Twitter about Trump's tweets after blasting 'sick' president on air". The Independent. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  6. Johnson, Ted (May 20, 2020). "Mika Brzezinski Says "A Call Is Being Set Up" With Twitter Boss Jack Dorsey After Donald Trump Again Tweets Out Conspiracy Theory". Deadline. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Pittman, Craig. "Florida family grieves as Trump spreads debunked conspiracy theory to attack MSNBC host". Washington Post. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  8. Maggie Astor. "Trump Pushes a Conspiracy Theory That Falsely Accuses a TV Host of Murder". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  9. "McCarthy sidesteps questions on Trump?s baseless conspiracy theory involving Joe Scarborough". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  10. "Romney defends Joe Scarborough, staffer's widower: 'Enough already'". The Hill. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Okun, Eli. "Widower of Scarborough staffer asks Twitter to remove Trump's conspiracy theories". POLITICO. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  12. "Trump doubles down on unfounded conspiracy theory involving Scarborough aide". CBS News. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  13. Knutson, Jacob. "Husband of deceased Scarborough staffer asks Twitter to delete baseless Trump claims". Axios. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  14. Morona, Joey (May 26, 2020). "MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' calls Trump 'unspeakably cruel' for pushing debunked conspiracy theory". cleveland. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  15. Burns, Katelyn (May 26, 2020). "The baseless Joe Scarborough conspiracy theory that Trump keeps pushing, explained". Vox. Retrieved May 27, 2020.


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