President TrumpDonald TrumpMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 Trump endorses David Perdue in Georgia's governor race MORE on Wednesday yet again raised a conspiracy theory about the death of an aide to former Rep. Joe ScarboroughCharles (Joe) Joseph ScarboroughScarborough pleads with Biden to mandate vaccines for teachers, health workers Trump ramps up attacks on media Scarborough hosts critical race theory debate on 'Morning Joe' MORE (R-Fla.), despite a barrage of criticism about his earlier tweets from lawmakers, the media and the widower of the woman who died.
Trump tweeted about Scarborough minutes before Wednesday's showing of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" concluded, underscoring how the topic is on his mind, and on his refusal to back down on the subject in the face of criticism.
“Psycho Joe Scarborough is rattled, not only by his bad ratings but all of the things and facts that are coming out on the internet about opening a Cold Case,” the president tweeted. “He knows what is happening!”
There is no cold case involving Scarborough. Trump is referring to the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, an aide who worked in his Florida office when Scarborough served in Congress.
Klausutis, who had an undiagnosed heart condition, fell and hit her head at work in 2001 and was found dead the following morning. Scarborough was in Washington at the time, and the medical examiner ruled her death an accident.
Timothy Klausutis, Lori’s husband, recently penned a letter to Twitter asking the social media platform to take the president’s tweets down, accusing Trump of taking the memory of his deceased wife and “pervert[ing] it for perceived political gain.”
The president dismissed the letter when asked about it on Tuesday, saying he read it but that he believed Klausutis’s family wanted to “get to the bottom” of her death.
“It’s a very suspicious thing, and I hope that somebody gets to the bottom of it. It would be a very good thing. As you know, there is no statute of limitations,” the president told reporters at an event in the White House Rose Garden.
Trump's raising of the conspiracy comes as the United States approaches a grim milestone of 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus. The nation is expected to clear that figure Wednesday.
Trump has weathered intense criticism over his tweets, including from some in his own party. Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerKevin McCarthy is hostage to the GOP's 'exotic wing' GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown MORE (R-Ill.) on Sunday urged Trump to stop spreading “unfounded conspiracy” and “creating paranoia.”
The Wall Street Journal’s conservative editorial board on Wednesday called Trump’s tweets a “presidential smear” in a piece published before the president again posted a message about Scarborough.
“Mr. Trump always hits back at critics, and Mr. Scarborough has called the President mentally ill, among other things. But suggesting that the talk-show host is implicated in the woman’s death isn’t political hardball. It’s a smear,” the Journal’s editorial board wrote.
“Mr. Trump rightly denounces the lies spread about him in the Steele dossier, yet here he is trafficking in the same sort of trash.”
Later Wednesday, House Republican Conference Chair Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyWe must learn from the Afghanistan experience — starting with the withdrawal Kevin McCarthy is hostage to the GOP's 'exotic wing' Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE (Wyo.) urged Trump to stop raising the conspiracy theory.
“I do think the president should stop tweeting about Joe Scarborough. I think we’re in the middle of a pandemic. He’s the commander in chief of this nation, and it's causing great pain to the family of the young woman who died," Cheney told reporters outside the Capitol.
--This report was updated at 1:34 p.m.