The widower of Lori Klausutis is publicly pleading with President Trump to stop exploiting the death of his late wife – causing the president’s promotion of a conspiracy theory about it ‘just inhuman.’
T.J. Klausutis, a civilian research engineer for the Air Force, pleaded with Trump to cease in an open letter this spring after the president fired off a series of tweets trying to pin Lori’s sudden death on political rival MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.
Now, he is airing his inner turmoil over the matter – after Trump’s flurry of tweets this spring got picked up by followers including a sizable contingent of QAnon conspiracy theorists.
T.J. Klausutis, the widower of former Joe Scarborough staffer Lori Klausutis, complained of ‘inhuman’ suffering after the president’s attacks on Scarborough using his wife’s death
‘Nobody, and I mean nobody, should have to be used in such a fashion. … It’s just inhuman,’ Klausutis told Yahoo News during several interviews – his first on the subject.
Trump stoked conspiracies about Kluasutis again and again this spring, at one point tweeting: ‘Then you have Psycho Joe ‘What Ever Happened To Your Girlfriend?’ in one of several incendiary tweets suggesting the former Florida congressman may have committed murder.
‘It’s complete nonsense,’ Klausutis said. ‘It’s just disgusting.’
‘It got to the point that I literally could not stomach this,’ he said.
Klausutis told the outlet he could tell Scarborough barely knew his wife during an encounter at a fundraiser in 2000.
‘I remember when she walked up and she got introduced to Joe and someone goes, ‘Oh, this is, this is Lori from,’ you know, and you just saw that he didn’t recognize her and didn’t know her,’ Klausutis said. ‘And I was standing right there.’
Lori Klausutis died at age 28 in 2001. She had an undiagnosed heart condition and fell and hit her head at work
Klausutis suddenly collapsed in Scarborough’s district office in Fort Walton Beach, Florida while the lawmakers was in Washington, D.C. and voting on record.
Trump’s tweets, including calling Scarborough – a former friendly interviewer who turned critic – ‘cold case Joe’ – got retweeted 239,000 times and got 873,400 likes, according to an analysis of how the unproven theory spread.
About a tenth of total mentions were linked to conspiracy theory QAnon accounts, data analysis firm Zignal found.
At the time of Klausutis’ death, the medical examiner found she had an undiagnosed problem with her mitral valve anomaly, which can cause cardiac arrhythmia.
President Trump stoked conspiracy theories by calling Scarobough ‘Cold Case Joe’ and referring Klausutis as his ‘girlfriend’
Police officers investigate the scene of Rep. Joe Scarborough’s Fort Walton Beach office after employee Lori Klausutis was found dead in July 2001. Authorities found that Scarborough was in D.C. at the time and Klausutis had an undiagnosed heart condition
Timothy Klausutis sent a letter to Twitter on May 21, but it didn’t deter President Trump from calling Lori Klausutis’ death a ‘Cold Case against Psycho Joe Scarborough,’ adding that he thought the television host was a ‘Nut Job’
President Trump has continued to tweet about the conspiracy theory – despite Lori Klausutis’ family being so rattled by it that her widower asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to pull Trump’s tweets about his dead wife down
Klausutis died at a satellite office in Fort Walton Beach while Rep. Scarborough was about 1,000 miles away in Washington
Trump also spoked the conspiracy in media appearances. ”I’ve always felt he got away with murder,’ Trump told Fox News Channel’s Brian Kilmeade on the anchor’s radio show in June. ‘That was my feeling, my very strong feeling, and I do feel it.’
He asked the same question on Twitter in May. ‘Did he get away with murder,’ while calling Scarborough ‘Psycho Joe.’
The story found Klausutis ‘appears to have been totally devoted to her husband’ and sang in the choir at her Catholic church.
Scarborough addressed the situation on his show amid Trump’s spring attacks.
”I didn’t know Lori well. She worked in an annex office… I met her a couple of times at a couple of public events. But after she passed away [her widower] T.J. told me that she was working in a bank and she was a lifelong Republican and a faithful Catholic… and she decided she wanted to work in something bigger than herself,’ he recalled.
‘I’ve thought about this. A good woman, a young woman’s desire to do something good for the country that she loved… and now the President of the United States is sullying this good woman’s name,’ Scarborough continued. ‘It is heartbreaking, the cruelty is unspeakable,’ he said.
T.J. Klausutis wrote Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a May 21 letter urging tech tycoon to act against Trump’s tweets. ‘My request is simple: Please delete these tweets,’ he wrote. The company has not taken them down, although it has begun to more aggressively police tweets that violate its polices on violence or falsehoods.