WASHINGTON - A widower is asking Twitter to remove posts by President Donald Trump seeking to link his wife's death in 2001 to talk show host Joe Scarborough, a prominent Trump critic.
"I'm asking you to intervene in this instance because the President of the United States has taken something that does not belong to him - the memory of my dead wife - and perverted it for perceived political gain," said the letter from Timothy Klausutis to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
Trump defended himself with a new set of tweets saying "the opening of a Cold Case against Psycho Joe Scarborough was not a Donald Trump original thought, this has been going on for years."
Twitter issued a statement saying it is "deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family," but did not address the question of whether it would remove Trump's tweets.
"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 company said.
Lori Klausutis, 28, died in 2001 after fainting and hitting her head while working in a Florida regional office for Scarborough, then a congressman, who is now the host of the MSNBC news program "Morning Joe."
Trump, a frequent target of criticism from Scarborough, has tweeted in recent weeks seeking to revive false conspiracy theories linking Scarborough to Lori Klausutis' death.
"When will they open a Cold Case on the Psycho Joe Scarborough matter in Florida," Trump tweeted on May 12.
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. Why did he leave Congress so quietly and quickly? Isn't it obvious? What's happening now? A total nut job!
- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2020
No evidence exists connecting Scarborough to the death and authorities concluded long ago that the woman's death was an accident.
Timothy Klausutis's plea to Twitter to remove Trump's tweets drew support from Scarborough and his co-host and spouse, Mika Brzezinski.
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Scarborough retweeted parts of Klausutis' letter: "There has been a constant barrage of falsehoods, half-truths, innuendo and conspiracy theories since the day she died ... Because of this, I have struggled to move forward with my life."
"'There has been a constant barrage of falsehoods, half-truths, innuendo and conspiracy theories since the day she died. Because of this, I have struggled to move forward with my life.'
It's long past time to let him do that and, most of all, to let Lori Klausutis rest in peace."
- Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) May 26, 2020
On his program, Scarborough said Trump and his followers are being "unspeakably cruel" to the Klausutis family.
In another tweet, Brzezinski made a request to Dorsey: "@jack Please delete those tweets."
- Mika Brzezinski (@morningmika) May 26, 2020
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Widower of dead Joe Scarborough staffer wants Trump tweets removed