Donald Trump has made a habit of disseminating conspiracy theories when he wants to direct attention away from his administration's failings—just look at the way he created "Obamagate" from thin air in the midst of his mishandling of a pandemic. So it's not surprising that this Memorial Day weekend, with the nation mourning nearly 100,000 killed by the coronavirus, including tens of thousands of deaths experts say might have been prevented, Trump hit Twitter to promote another completely baseless theory.
But this one is particularly despicable: The president implied that MSNBC's Joe Scarborough was being investigated for murder, a claim so completely removed from reality that even a Republican congressman took to Twitter to rebuke it.
"A lot of interest in this story about Psycho Joe Scarborough," the president tweeted Sunday. "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?"
Illinois representative Adam Kinzinger condemned Trump's spreading of the "completely unfounded conspiracy."
"Just stop," he tweeted. "Stop spreading it, stop creating paranoia. It will destroy us."
Completely unfounded conspiracy. Just stop. Stop spreading it, stop creating paranoia. It will destroy us. https://t.co/XgDl6LmANb— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) May 24, 2020
Trump's tweets refer to the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, who worked in then-congressman Scarborough's office. Klausutis, who wasn't a marathon runner as Trump insisted, suffered from a heart condition, and, while working alone, fainted and incurred a fatal head injury. Not only was her death ruled to have natural causes, but there's no evidence to suggest she ever had an affair with Scarborough, who was hundreds of miles away from the office when she died. Trump, a former friend of the MSNBC host, seized on the conspiracy theory as Scarborough became increasingly critical of his administration. He's tweeted about it on multiple occasions since 2017, but has ramped up the attacks in recent weeks, issuing missives about "Cold Case Joe Scarborough" five times in the last month. (Again, the circumstances around Klausutis death are settled—it's not cold, or a case.)
When he wasn't baselessly accusing a private citizen of being involved in a murder that never occurred, Trump spent his weekend golfing and amplifying tweets from racist and sexist accounts, including retweeting messages that mocked Stacey Abrams' weight and referred to Hillary Clinton as "HRC the skank." We've always known that Trump is no consoler-in-chief, but even aside from the gross attacks on Clinton, Abrams, Scarborough, and everyone else in his crosshairs, the president's behavior is a deep affront to a nation in mourning.
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