In a statement Tuesday, Twitter expressed sympathy for the Klausutis family but gave no indication Trump’s tweets would be deleted.
“We are deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family,” the statement 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 existence of Klausutis’s letter was reported in an opinion piece in the New York Times.
With no evidence, Trump has continued to push a conspiracy theory that Scarborough, while a member of Congress, had an affair with his married staffer and that he may have killed her — a theory that has been debunked by news organizations including The Washington Post and that Timothy Klausutis called a “vicious lie” in his letter to Dorsey.
On Tuesday morning, Trump went on Twitter again to advocate the “opening of a Cold Case against Psycho Joe Scarborough,” which he said was “not a Donald Trump original thought.”
“So many unanswered & obvious questions, but I won’t bring them up now!” Trump added. “Law enforcement eventually will?
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany later told reporters that she didn’t know if Trump had seen Klausutis’s letter, “but I do know our hearts are with Lori’s family at this time,” she added.
McEnany then sought to turn the tables on Scarborough, accusing him and his co-host and wife, Mika Brzezinski, of having made “quite a few” false allegations about Trump.
“They should be held to account for their falsehoods,” McEnany said, dismissing questions about why the president of the United States would press a debunked conspiracy theory about someone committing murder.
Authorities determined that Lori Klausutis suffered an abnormal heart rhythm and died after collapsing and striking her head. She was discovered in Scarborough’s office in Fort Walton Beach, on her back with her head near a desk, according to a 2001 police report.
“I’m asking you to intervene in this instance because the President of the United States has taken something that does not belong him — the memory of my dead wife — and perverted it for perceived political gain,” Klausutis said in the letter, dated May 21. “My wife deserves better.”
Klausutis argued that Trump’s tweets violate Twitter’s community rules and terms of service.
“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,” he said.
Neither Twitter nor the White House immediately responded to a request for comment.
Scarborough, who was 900 miles away in Washington on the day Klausutis died, and Brzezinski have both expressed outrage on the air in recent days — saying that Trump’s false accusations were most hurtful to Klausutis’s family. Brzezinski called Trump a “cruel, sick, disgusting person” and said he was using the episode to distract from the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, Scarborough and Brzezinski addressed the episode on air, reading the letter referenced in a New York Times opinion piece by Kara Swisher.
“I know all too well how much T.J. has suffered and how much his family has suffered,” Scarborough said, referring to Timothy Klausutis. “It’s unspeakably cruel, whether it’s the president or whether it’s people following the president. These are not public figures, nor have they ever been public figures. Every time they spread these lies, they’re hurting the family.”
Trump has repeated his baseless accusations about Scarborough on several occasions in recent weeks. Among the tweets cited in Klausutis’s letter is one from May 12.
“Did he get away with murder?” Trump asked of Scarborough. “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!”
Craig Pittman and Anne Gearan contributed to this report.