Like so many of our democratic rights, the boundaries, for better or worse, are consistently challenged by Trump and his administration.
Trump has once again brought the issue of free speech to the public forum with his baseless conspiracy theory about the death of Timothy Klausutis’ wife, Lori, in 2001.
At the time of her death from a fall––precipitated by a heart condition––Lori was employed by then Rep. Joe Scarborough and working in his Florida office.
Scarborough now has a morning show on MSNBC which often dispenses harsh criticism of Trump, prompting him to renew theories that Scarborough had something to do with Lori’s death via his Twitter account. Scarborough was out of the state at the time of her death.
Her husband, in a recent letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, has asked him to intercede. “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,” Klausutis wrote. The letter was later published as an op-ed in The New York Times.
With the appearance of the letter, Trump, as expected, ramped up his postings on Twitter, incorrectly describing Lori’s death as a cold case and calling Scarborough a “psycho.” Further, he wrote, “So many unanswered & obvious questions, but I won’t bring them up now! Law enforcement eventually will?”
Klausutis’ appeal has apparently hit a brick wall and Twitter has not removed Trump’s posts. “We are deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”
Central to Twitter’s response to the matter, despite the pain caused by the conspiracy theory promoted by Trump, is the issue of free speech and censorship concerns. Last year, in a blog post, the company said that leaving world leaders’ tweets up may serve the public interest even if they violate policies.
Well, violating public policies has been the modus operandi for Trump.