Twitter refuses to delete Trump’s baseless claims about Joe Scarborough

The exclusion of Twitter policy for world leaders faces another test with President Donald Trump’s latest tweets resuscitating baseless claims that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough should be investigated for the death of his former staff member.

Earlier this month, Trump tweeted questions about when an investigation would be opened into the “cold matter” of “Psycho Joe Scarborough”. The unfounded accusation refers to the death of Lori Klausutis in 2001, who worked for Scarborough while he was a member of the Florida Republican Congress. At the time, the medical examiner concluded that Klausutis, 28, had passed out due to an undiagnosed heart condition and had hit his head on the way down, finding no evidence of foul play. Scarborough was in Washington D.C. when Klausutis died in his district office in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Trump’s tweets have rekindled an unfounded theory that Scarborough was involved in the death of Klausitis. His widower Timothy Klausutis wrote to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Thursday asking the company to delete Trump’s tweets referring to the allegations.

“I ask you to intervene in this case because the President of the United States took something that does not belong to him – the memory of my deceased wife – and perverted it for perceived political gain,” wrote Klausutis. in the letter, which was dated May 21 and published by the New York Times Tuesday.

Klausutis’ request is the latest test of the policy of the world leader in Twitter, which the company first announced in June. The policy makes exceptions to some of its content standards for heads of state, arguing that it is important to maintain their speech so that the public can assess them for themselves. the politics says Twitter could still delete posts from world leaders in certain cases, for example, if they promote terrorism or violence or publish personal personal information about another person.

Twitter has yet to release a call for the latest set of tweets. A spokesperson for Twitter said in a statement, “We are deeply sorry for the pain these statements and the attention they give to family have caused. We have worked to extend existing product features and policies so that we can deal with issues more effectively like this in the future, and we hope that these changes will be implemented soon. “

New York Times opinion columnist Kara Swisher reported Twitter is considering calling Trump’s tweets false and linking them to reliable information about Klausutis’ death that would refute his innuendos. The company is accelerating its efforts to strengthen a rubric of criteria for labeling tweets from world leaders, sources told Swisher. The Twitter spokesperson did not confirm or comment on the Swisher report. But any Twitter effort to alleviate the problems caused by Trump’s tweets will likely come too late.

Meanwhile, Trump doubled his claims in two more tweets on Tuesday. Trump tweeted that the idea of ​​a Scarborough investigation “was not an original thought of Donald Trump” and “that it lasted for years, long before joining the choir.”

“So many unanswered and obvious questions, but I will not address them now! The police will end up doing it?” he tweeted.

This is not the first time that Trump has publicly accused someone of crimes without citing any evidence. During his political career, Trump has accused dozens of government officials of “treason” and, as president, he demanded federal inquiries into his opponents, critics and, most recently, his predecessor, the former president Barack Obama.

But in recent years, several court cases have sought to highlight the pain and hardship inflicted on families when the deaths of their loved ones are turned into false conspiracies. So far, the courts seem to be on the side of families.

After the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, conspiracy theorists, including InfoWars host Alex Jones, peddled the false theory that the murders had been organized for years. In response, the families of the victims sued Jones and others involved in a campaign to deny that the school shooting never took place.

At the end of last year, the parents of Sandy Hook won a defamation lawsuit against the author and publisher of a book which claimed that the massacre never took place. Several other cases Family lawsuits against Jones and InfoWars are still pending in court.

Twitter permanently banned Jones and InfoWars from its service in 2018, highlighting the differences between how the platform approaches regular users like Jones and how it deals with world leaders like Trump.

Trump and other conservatives have repeatedly accused social media companies, including Twitter, of being biased against the conservatives through their policies of moderation of content. Wall Street newspaper reported on Saturday that the White House plans to create a panel to investigate allegations of bias on digital platforms.

But it was not only the far right that peddled the Scarborough plot. In the past, the same refuted claims about the death of Klausitis have gone around the extreme left fringes of the Internet, where they have been embraced by conspiracy theorists who opposed Scarborough’s republican policy. As recently as 2016, the left-wing Daily Kos website published a blog post raising the same baseless accusations about Scarborough.

Trump and Scarborough have a complicated personal history that has evolved over time according to Trump’s political aspirations.

Before Trump’s election, the two men moved to the same social circles in New York and Florida, and Scarborough, a former Republican congressman with four terms, boasted of giving Trump political advice.

During Trump’s 2016 campaign, Scarborough was critical to have an “too comfortable” relationship with the candidate at the time, Trump. At the time, Scarborough and his wife and co-host Mika Brzezinski were frequent guests at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, and they even celebrated New Years Eve 2017 at the Palm Beach Resort.

But as Scarborough and Brzezinski became increasingly critical of Trump’s presidency in his first year in office, Trump turned on them and the relationship only got better with the time.

Last December, Scarborough wrote in an editorial for the Washington Post that after years of looking at Trump as a “cartoonish” character, he now sees him as something more sinister.

“Finally, I saw this president of reality TV as a malicious character, inspiring fascist songs while proving to be more unhappy than any of his [44] predecessors. All versions of Trump have been cynical and manipulative, but his latest incarnation has proven destructive to his party, his country and the world, “wrote Scarborough.

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