As we’ve reported in recent weeks, Donald Trump has been attacking MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Twitter with a widely-debunked conspiracy theory accusing the Morning Joe host of murdering Lori Klausutis, then a congressional intern, when Scarborough was her boss and a former U.S. Representative.
Klausutis’s widower Timothy Klausutis, begged Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to remove Trump’s tweets in a heartbreaking letter shared by Kara Swisher, ditor at large for the technology news website Recode and producer of the Recode Decode podcast and Code Conference, in a powerful New York Times piece on Tuesday.
Writes Klausutis in the letter: “President Trump on Tuesday tweeted to his nearly 80 million followers alluding to the repeatedly debunked falsehood that my wife was murdered by her boss, former U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough. The son of the president followed and more directly attacked my wife by tweeting to his followers as the means of spreading this vicious lie. … 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.”
“I have mourned my wife every day since her passing. I have tried to honor her memory and our marriage. … There has been a constant barrage of falsehoods, half-truths, innuendo and conspiracy theories since the day she died. I realize that may sound like an exaggeration, unfortunately it is the verifiable truth. Because of this, I have struggled to move forward with my life.”
Swisher believes that kicking Trump off the platform would set off a “firestorm” too big for Twitter to manage, and believes that simply labeling the tweets as false would be both “naive” and “ineffective because of the speed at which lies travel around the internet. Swisher supports Klausutis’s call for Twitter to remove the tweets.
Writes Swisher: “So why not be unexpected with those who continue to abuse the system? Taking really valuable one-off actions can be laudable since they make an example of someone’s horrid behavior as a warning to others. While it is impossible to stop the endless distribution of a screenshot of the tweets, taking the original ones down would send a strong message that this behavior is not tolerated.”
UPDATE. Twitter says it will not be removing tweets.