Facebook, where many of Trump’s tweets about the repugnant theory were cross-posted, also said Tuesday it would not take any action.
Trump’s smears about Scarborough center on the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, who worked in his Florida office when he served in Congress. Scarborough’s opponents and a bevy of internet trolls have tried to blame him for her death, even though he was in Washington at the time.
Trump brought up the baseless theory once in 2017, causing a surge of newfound attention about Klausutis’ death — and unwelcome phone calls to her family members.
Family members and friends of Klausutis have watched, some of them in disgust, but have refrained from commenting publicly for fear that they’d just further the conspiracy theory.
“Nearly 19 years ago, my wife, who had an undiagnosed heart condition, fell and hit her head on her desk at work. She was found dead the next morning. Her name is Lori Kaye Klausutis and she was 28 years old when she died,” he wrote in a letter to Dorsey dated May 21. “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.”
T.J. said he has tried to honor his late wife by protecting her memory “as I would have protected her in life.”
He said that’s why he was writing to Dorsey.
“The President’s tweet that suggests that Lori was murdered — without evidence (and contrary to the official autopsy) — is a violation of Twitter’s community rules and terms of service,” he wrote. “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.”
Scarborough’s co-host and wife Mika Brzezinski has also applied pressure, including on their program “Morning Joe.”
“You can keep tweeting about Joe, but you’re just hurting other people,” Brzezinski said to Trump on the air last week.
On Sunday, when CNN Business asked Twitter if Trump’s “cold case” tweets violated its rules and if any action would be taken, the company declined to comment.
Three hours later, Twitter told CNN Business that it would not be removing the tweets.
“We are deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family,” a Twitter 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.”
The company did not provide any details on what “product features and policies” it has been working to expand. Klausutis declined to comment.
In response to CNN’s request for comment, Facebook said, “We do not remove political speech solely because people may find it offensive, as this content understandably is to the family of Lori Klausutis and others. Speech from candidates and heads of state is among the most scrutinized content on our platform, which helps ensure people are held accountable for their words.”
This is not the first time conservatives have sought to enflame a conspiracy theory about the death of a political staffer in order to hurt a Democratic rival.
Observers have pointed out numerous similarities between the Rich and Klausutis cases.
On Tuesday morning, the President posted twice more about Scarborough, seemingly in response to news coverage of his behavior. He pointed out that the conspiracy theory was not a “Donald Trump original thought, this has been going on for years, long before I joined the chorus.”
At an afternoon press briefing, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was questioned about the Scarborough controversy, and she tried to turn it back around on the MSNBC host.
“If we want to start talking about false accusations, we have quite a few we can go through,” she said, and brought up comments by Scarborough and Brzezinski that she called false and “irresponsible.” She urged reporters to ask Scarborough about a comment he made 17 years ago.
When asked if Trump had seen the letter from Klausutis, McEnany said, “I don’t know if he’s seen the letter, but I do know that our hearts are with Lori’s family at this time.”
Trump said later in the afternoon that he has seen the widower’s letter, but signaled that he has no plans to stop tweeting about the subject.
“It’s a very suspicious thing, and I hope that somebody gets to the bottom of it,” he claimed, even though the case has been closed for nearly two decades.
Read the letter here: