SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mitt Romney called on President Donald Trump to stop tweeting Wednesday about the 2001 death of a former Republican congressman’s staff member.
The Utah Republican said the husband and family of Lori Klausutis has suffered enough. He criticized Trump for repeatedly suggesting over the past few weeks that MSNBC “Morning Joe” host and former GOP Rep. Joe Scarborough was involved in her death in his Florida congressional office — a claim that has been widely debunked.
“I know Joe Scarborough. Joe is a friend of mine. I don’t know T.J. Klausutis. Joe can weather vile, baseless accusations but T.J.? His heart is breaking. Enough already,” Romney tweeted.
Scarborough, a Trump critic, has been a guest at Romney’s annual private retreat for big-money political donors at Deer Valley Resort in Park City. In 2014, he urged attendees to begin a “Draft Romney” movement for the 2016 presidential election, according to the Washington Post.
Romney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., are the only Republicans to call for Trump to end the tweets about the death.
“Completely unfounded conspiracy. Just stop. Stop spreading it, stop creating paranoia. It will destroy us,” Kinzinger tweeted Sunday.
On May 12, Trump tweeted: “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.”
Similar tweets have persisted in the past few days.
Timothy Klausutis sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey last week demanding the tweets be deleted.
I know Joe Scarborough. Joe is a friend of mine. I don't know T.J. Klausutis. Joe can weather vile, baseless accusations but T.J.? His heart is breaking. Enough already.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) May 27, 2020
In the letter, he writes that falsehoods, half-truths, innuendo and conspiracy theories have persisted since the day his wife died. The intensity of those “horrifying lies” have increased on the internet, he wrote.
“These conspiracy theorists, including most recently the president of the United States, continued to spread their bile and misinformation on your platform disparaging the memory of my wife and our marriage,” Klausutis wrote.
“Her passing is the single most painful thing that I ever had to deal with in my 52 years and continues to haunt her parents and sister.”
Lori Klausutis had an undiagnosed heart condition when she fell and hit her head on a desk at work. She was found dead the next morning. She was 28. Scarborough was in Washington, D.C., at the time.
“The president’s tweets that suggest Lori was murdered — without any evidence (and contrary to the official autopsy) — is a violation of Twitter’s rules and terms of service,” Klausutis wrote.
Trump, who has more than 80 million Twitter followers, has continued to tweet about her death.
“A lot of interest in this story about Psycho Joe Scarborough. So a young marathon runner just happened to faint in his office, hit her head on his desk, & die? I would think there is a lot more to this story than that? An affair? What about the so-called investigator? Read story!” the president posted on Sunday.
And then on Wednesday Trump tweeted: “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.”
There is no cold case investigation into Lori Klausutis’ death.