Trump pushes a conspiracy theory and falsely accuses a TV host of murder | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
President Donald Trump speaks during an event on protecting seniors with diabetes in the Rose Garden White House today in Washington.

WASHINGTON >> President Donald Trump smeared a prominent television host today from the podium in the Rose Garden with an unfounded allegation of murder.

In an attack that once would have been unthinkable for a sitting president, Trump all but accused Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman who now hosts the MSNBC show “Morning Joe,” of killing a staff member in 2001 even though he was 800 miles away at the time and the police ruled her death an accident.

The president’s charge amplified a series of Twitter messages in recent days that have drawn almost no rebukes from fellow Republicans eager to look the other way but have anguished the family of Lori Klausutis, who died when she suffered a heart condition that caused her to fall and hit her head on a desk. Trump doubled down on the false accusation even after Timothy Klausutis pleaded unsuccessfully with Twitter to take down the posts.

“A lot of people suggest that and hopefully someday people are going to find out,” the president said when asked by reporters about his tweets suggesting that Scarborough had committed murder perhaps because of an affair with Klausutis.

Trump brushed aside the widower’s letter asking that the family be left alone. “I’m sure that, ultimately, they want to get to the bottom of it and it’s a very serious situation,” the president said of Klausutis’ relatives.

The latest burst of wild allegations and fact-free innuendo came at a time when Trump has appeared eager to redirect attention away from the continuing coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of nearly 100,000 people in the United States and cratered the American economy. Among other things today, he boasted about the rising stock market and tried to sow doubt about the results of the coming fall election that polls currently show he would lose.

In a first, Twitter late today attached “get the facts” warnings to two tweets in which Trump made false claims about voter fraud in California. But Twitter did not take down the tweets about Scarborough despite the request from Klausutis.