A GOP Illinois Representative has demanded that Donald Trump stop pushing a conspiracy theory that MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough had something to do with the death of his intern while he was in Congress.
Trump renewed theories about Morning Joe anchor Scarborough on Sunday morning by questioning how a marathon runner could fall, hit her head and die.
It led to the family of Lori Klausutis revealing they are living in fear of retaliation from conspiracy theorists if they comment, but Republican Adam Kinzinger has called for the president to cease mentioning it.
‘A lot of interest in this story about Psycho Joe Scarborough. So a young marathon runner just happened to faint in his office, hit her head on his desk, & die? I would think there is a lot more to this story than that? An affair? What about the so-called investigator? Read story!’ Trump tweeted alongside a link Sunday morning.
Adam Kinzinger (left) asked Donald Trump (right) to stop pushing Joe Scarborough conspiracy theory on Sunday
Illinois Rep. Kinzinger tweeted Trump: ‘Completely unfounded conspiracy. Just stop. Stop spreading it, stop creating paranoia. It will destroy us’
Before becoming a cable news host, Joe Scarborough (pictured with his wife Mika Brzezinski) was a Republican House member who represented Florida’s 1st congressional district
Lori Klausutis (pictured) interned for Scarborough’s congressional office in Florida. She died in 2001 at the office after falling and hitting her head
The link was for a True Pundit article titled: ‘FLASHBACK: Evidence Shows Foul Play Likely in Scarborough Aide’s Suspicious Death in His Congressional Office.’
Kinzinger responded: ‘Completely unfounded conspiracy. Just stop. Stop spreading it, stop creating paranoia. It will destroy us.’
The previous evening Trump had tweeted a link to an article featuring his own comments on the 2001 death.
He wrote alongside the link: ‘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!’
Klausutis’ loved ones declined to comment about Trump’s tweets to the Washington Post because they feared online retaliation from conspiracy theorists who also trolled the families of Sandy Hook victims.
‘There’s a lot we would love to say, but we can’t,’ Klausutis’ brother-in-law Colin Kelly explained.
Klausutis interned for Scarborough at his congressional office in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
Before becoming a cable news host, Scarborough was a Republican House member who represented Florida’s 1st congressional district.
She died in 2001 at the office after falling and hitting her head. Doctors ruled her death an accident as a result of an undiagnosed heart arrhythmia.
But a conspiracy theory that she had been romantically involved with Scarborough and that her death was not an accident has swirled and been fanned repeatedly in recent weeks by Trump.
Klausutis’ grave is pictured. Her brother-in-law said the family was reluctant to comment on Trump’s tweets because they fear conspiracy theorists may troll them online
Scarborough was not at the office at the time of Klausutis’ death.
In the True Pundit article shared by Trump, the author writes that ‘the fainting story does not add up’.
‘What is the likelihood that an apparently healthy woman, who ran marathons, would faint and hit her head on a desk in such a way that would cause death? It’s pretty unlikely, our research indicates,’ the author of the story wrote.
It was the fifth time this month Trump has pushed the theory.
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted: ‘Guys like low ratings psycho Joe Scarborough are allowed to walk the streets? Open cold case!’
Trump mentioned Scarborough in a comparison to his disgraced long term fixer Roger Stone.
Last Tuesday – even though Trump often asserts that he doesn’t watch Morning Joe, or MSNBC in general – it took only 20 minutes from Scarborough attacking him for him to launched a Twitter assault against Scarborough, calling him a murderer.
‘When will they open a Cold Case on the Psycho Joe Scarborough matter in Florida,’ Trump questioned. ‘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 had tweeted in similar terms a week earlier, prompting the broadcaster to suggest he needed to ‘take a rest’.
Previous attack: Two weeks ago Trump tweeted ‘ColdCaseJoe!’ in response to an article detailing the MSNBC host’s apology after he tweeted an altered video of Vice President Mike Pence and got into a Twitter spat with Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Trump’s tweets about Scarborough angered his wife and on-air co-host, Mika Brzezinski, who tore into the president on the air at the end of their show on Wednesday.
‘Donald, you’re a sick person,’ Brzezinski said. ‘You’re really a cruel, sick, disgusting person. And you can keep tweeting about Joe, but you’re just hurting other people, and of course you’re just hurting yourself.’
Brzezinski demanded that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey take action and remove Trump from the platform.
‘Twitter, you shouldn’t be allowing this, and you should be taking these tweets down, and you should be ashamed of yourself,’ she said.
‘You’ll be hearing from me, on this, because this is BS.’
Brzezinski also hit out at Trump for repeating the conspiracy theory and reminding the Klausutis family of their loved one’s death.
‘To put this family through this, to put her husband through this, to do this just ’cause you’re mad at Joe, because Joe got you again today,’ Brzezinski said.
‘Because he speaks the truth, and he speaks plainly about your lack of interest, and empathy in others, and your lack of ability to handle this massive human catastrophe, the fact that you have made it worse and you make it worse every day.’
After Wednesday’s MSNBC broadcast, Brzezinski revealed on Twitter that she and Dorsey would have a conversation.
She tweeted that she was going to have a call with Dorsey and Twitter’s general counsel Sean Edgett.
Trump’s accusations led to Scarborough’s wife, Mika Brzezinski, hitting out at him, calling the president ‘sick,’ and demanded that Twitter remove him
‘I will be reaching out to head of twitter about their policies being violated every day by President Trump,’ she wrote. In another, she wrote: ‘@twitter need to know why trump is not banned?’
She later tweeted that Dorsey and the company’s general counsel would be speaking to her. Dorsey has never previously engaged publicly with calls for Trump to be banned from the platform.
Twitter’s treatment of Trump has become a lightning rod for criticism of the platform and a dilemma for Dorsey and its executives.
A series of tweets which would appear to be in breach of policies against fake news, insults and harassment have been the subject of complaints.
But Twitter introduced a ‘public interest exemption’ which applies to political leaders and allows their tweets to go beyond its policies.
It has also introduced restrictions on misleadingly edited material, with a Trump tweet falling foul of it last month – to the fury of his supporters.
Trump also spent his Sunday morning firing off several tweets about the coronavirus, mail in ballots and Former Rep Allen West, who suffered a concussion following a motorcycle crash in Texas.
In one tweet, the president wrote about COVID-19, saying: ‘Cases, numbers and deaths are going down all over the Country!’
Trump also claimed that this year’s presidential election ‘will be the Greatest Rigged election in history’.