Trump promotes conspiracy theory accusing TV show host of murder
The US president was apparently referring to the 2001 death of congressional staffer Lori Klausutis.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday explicitly suggested MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough had committed murder, prompting the morning cable news host to urge to president in real time to stop watching his program for “the sake of America.”
Following a segment on the network’s “Morning Joe” talk show that featured discussion of upcoming Senate testimony by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, as well as critical comments from Scarborough regarding the White House’s coronavirus response, Trump lashed out in a tweet posted just before 7 a.m.
“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,” Trump wrote. “Why did he leave Congress so quietly and quickly? Isn’t it obvious? What’s happening now? A total nut job!”
Trump was apparently referring to the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, who worked as a staffer in Scarborough’s Fort Walton Beach, Florida, office when he served as a Republican House lawmaker from Florida’s 1st congressional district.
Klausutis’ autopsy revealed she had an undiagnosed heart condition, and a coroner concluded she died after passing out and hitting her head in a fall, according to the Associated Press. She was not struck by another person, the coroner said, and Scarborough was in Washington at the time of her death.
Trump has previously floated the conspiracy theory that the former congressman and current MSNBC personality was involved in Klausutis’ death, tweeting last Monday that the Comcast Corporation “should open up a long overdue Florida Cold Case against Psycho Joe Scarborough.”
Scarborough at the time called that provocation by the president “extraordinarily cruel,” and issued a similar on-air response Tuesday after being alerted to Trump’s inflammatory tweet while broadcasting live.
“For your sake, as I’ve been saying for years — Donald, for your sake, and for the sake of America, you need to stop watching our show, OK? It’s not good for you. I think that might be why you go out and, like, you’re distracted. You’re tweeting so much,” Scarborough said.
“Why don’t you turn off the television, and why don’t you start working, OK?” he continued. “You do your job, we’ll do ours, and America will be much better off for that. Just go. Turn off the TV, Donald.”
“He can’t do it,” added Mika Brzezinski, Scarborough’s co-host and wife, who also also has been targeted online by the president and encouraged him Tuesday to “please leave us alone, for yourself.”
Prior to his attack on Scarborough, Trump had already tweeted eight times Tuesday morning — including another post invoking“ColdCaseJoe!” and messages denigrating House Speaker “Crazy Nancy” Pelosi, “Fake Journalists” and “Sleepy Eyes” Chuck Todd of NBC News. He also wrote of comedian Bill Maher’s late-night HBO talk show: “Ratings way down, show sucks!”