Widower of woman in Trump conspiracy theory tweets asks Twitter CEO to delete them
A thoroughly debunked conspiracy theory repeated by the president on Twitter remains as the platform says the tweets of world leaders are 'newsworthy'
As we all know, President Donald Trump loves Twitter and uses the social media platform often to state his feelings on…well, just about everything. As the leader of the free world, his thoughts are more than just fodder for critics, they influence his base.
That is why Timothy Klausutis is upset enough with Trump’s tweets about his wife, Lori, to write a moving letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to ask that the tweets be removed.
Lori Klausutis is at the center of an online conspiracy theory that Trump has embraced, mostly to bash MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host, Joe Scarborough. According to multiple reports, including The New York Times, Trump has retweeted the falsehood that Scarborough is responsible for Lori’s death.
In 2001, Scarborough was a congressman in Florida, and Lori worked in his office. Although she was 28 at the time, she had a heart condition and collapsed at work, hitting her head on her desk and dying.
Timothy made his plea to Dorsey in a letter acquired by the Times, saying:
“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.”
“I have mourned my wife every day since her passing. I have tried to honor her memory and our marriage,” Klausutis added. “There has been a constant barrage of falsehoods, half-truths, innuendo and conspiracy theories since the day she died. I realize that may sound like an exaggeration, unfortunately it is the verifiable truth. Because of this, I have struggled to move forward with my life.”
He included in his letter the tweets Trump made, which asked ‘Concast’ to investigate Scarborough, and added that some people think he got ‘away with murder.’
Timothy Klausutis, the widower of Lori Klausutis, has written to Jack Dorsey asking him to delete tweets by President Trump spreading a debunked conspiracy theory about his late wife’s death and @JoeNBC
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) May 26, 2020
Trump has made reference to this theory for years, apparently to bash Scarborough for his criticism of the president.
Twitter has said it will not censor statements by world leaders, no matter how false or misleading as they are “newsworthy.” Numerous requests to kick Trump off the social media platform for false, inflammatory, or borderline libelous statements have gone nowhere. The only concession Twitter has made is that any world leaders who tweet about the coronavirus will have those statements published with a disclaimer that says ‘unverified’ ‘disputed’ or ‘misleading.’
It would stand to reason that tweeting about someone’s culpability in a death that was not classified as a homicide might be all of the above, but Twitter’s response fell short of forcing Trump off the platform or even to delete the tweets as requested.
“We are deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family,” says Twitter spokesman Nick Pacilio. “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.”
Scarborough did not directly address the controversy over the tweets but did retweet the New York Times opinion piece where the story first appeared.
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