The widower of Lori Klausutis is publicly pleading with President Trump to stop exploiting the death of his late wife – causing the president's promotion of a conspiracy theory about it 'just inhuman.'
T.J. Klausutis, a civilian research engineer for the Air Force, pleaded with Trump to cease in an open letter this spring after the president fired off a series of tweets trying to pin Lori's sudden death on political rival MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.
Now, he is airing his inner turmoil over the matter – after Trump's flurry of tweets this spring got picked up by followers including a sizable contingent of QAnon conspiracy theorists.
T.J. Klausutis, the widower of former Joe Scarborough staffer Lori Klausutis, complained of 'inhuman' suffering after the president's attacks on Scarborough using his wife's death
'Nobody, and I mean nobody, should have to be used in such a fashion. ... It's just inhuman,' Klausutis told Yahoo News during several interviews – his first on the subject.
Trump stoked conspiracies about Kluasutis again and again this spring, at one point tweeting: 'Then you have Psycho Joe 'What Ever Happened To Your Girlfriend?' in one of several incendiary tweets suggesting the former Florida congressman may have committed murder.
'It's complete nonsense,' Klausutis said. 'It's just disgusting.'
'It got to the point that I literally could not stomach this,' he said.
Klausutis told the outlet he could tell Scarborough barely knew his wife during an encounter at a fundraiser in 2000.
'I remember when she walked up and she got introduced to Joe and someone goes, 'Oh, this is, this is Lori from,' you know, and you just saw that he didn't recognize her and didn't know her,' Klausutis said. 'And I was standing right there.'
Lori Klausutis died at age 28 in 2001. She had an undiagnosed heart condition and fell and hit her head at work
Klausutis suddenly collapsed in Scarborough's district office in Fort Walton Beach, Florida while the lawmakers was in Washington, D.C. and voting on record.
Trump's tweets, including calling Scarborough – a former friendly interviewer who turned critic – 'cold case Joe' – got retweeted 239,000 times and got 873,400 likes, according to an analysis of how the unproven theory spread.
About a tenth of total mentions were linked to conspiracy theory QAnon accounts, data analysis firm Zignal found.