On Saturday, President Donald Trump promoted his obscure conspiracy theory about former congressman and current MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. The president tweeted about a totally baseless claim that Scarborough murdered his intern, Lori Klausutis, in 2001. Many said that the president's rhetoric was dangerous for Scarborough, his family and the family of Klausutis.
Trump first brought up his strange theory about Scarborough two weeks ago, giving him the nickname "Cold Case Joe." It is not clear where the idea came from, but the president tweeted: "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." Those tweets came back around on Saturday when the president retweeted a blog post about them.
Trump erroneously suggested that Klausutis had suffered "a blow to the head," and encouraged anyone reading to "keep digging, use forensic geniuses!" According to a report by Axios, there is nothing to support Trump's claims.
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! https://t.co/UxbS5gZecd— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2020
Klausutis was 28 years old when she worked in Scarborough's office as an aide. She lost consciousness and collapsed at work, apparently due to abnormal heart rhythm. She struck her head as she fell, and authorities ruled her death as accidental. Police never suspected foul play.
Still, critics thought that the president was likely making these claims publicly on Twitter to stir up his followers and advance his feud with Scarborough and his wife, Mika Brzezinski. The two host Morning Joe together, and in the past, Trump was friendly with them before the 2016 presidential election.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2020
Last week, Brzezinski called on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey publicly to "stop allowing your platform policies to be abused." Many assumed she was referring to Trump's conspiracy theories about her husband, which she called "libel."
Brzezinski addressed the issue on the air as well, discussing it with other MSNBC pundits. So far, Scarborough himself has not addressed the president's latest tweet about him. Still, other critics on Twitter have pointed out how Trump's tweets put Scarborough, Brzezinski and the Klausutis family in danger. At the very least, he put the spotlight back on the Klausutis family and will likely force them to re-live a painful memory in the public eye.
Well @morningmika has a point @jack and @vijaya — these tweets are not newsworthy nor are they factual. And they are abusive to a lot of folks well beyond @JoeNBC. You can selectively remove these. https://t.co/h3NeXgmqiT— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) May 20, 2020
So far, Dorsey has not responded to this latest scandal either, though in the past he has said that he will not allow Trump to be banned from Twitter no matter what. In 2018, he retweeted a company blog post saying: "Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions."