‘A depraved delight in inflicting pain’: Even Republicans blast Trump’s hurtful lies about grieving family

side by side photo of Trump and Joe Scarborough


President Trump is accusing MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough of murdering a woman who was a constituent services coordinator in Scarborough’s Florida congressional office in 2001.

The Washington Post reports on her family’s request that Twitter remove Trump’s tweets about the tragic death of Lori Kaye Klausitis, who fainted, hit her head as she fell, and died.

The wild, baseless accusation against Scarborough, who was a Republican office-holder and now is a Trump critic, has sparked outrage from Twitter users on the political left, right, and center.

Widower: Trump has ‘perverted’ wife’s death for political gain

Klausutis’ widower asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to remove Trump’s tweets. His heart-wrenching letter asks Dorsey to delete Trump’s tweets because of the harm it’s causing to him and his family members. “My wife,” he writes, “deserves better.”

‘Sullying the name of a dead woman’

Side by side photographs of Abraham Lincoln and Donald Trump.

Wikimedia / Flickr

The Lincoln Project, a group of conservatives that has previously criticized Trump in crushing anti-Trump ads, also objected to Trump’s tweets. The group responded that Trump is trafficking in “horrific, conspiratorial tweets” when he should be focusing on guiding the nation through the coronavirus crisis.

Trump’s tweets are ‘sucker-punching’ the family, not Scarborough

The target of Trump’s tweets is Joe Scarborough, who, as a TV host and former Republican elected official, has criticized Trump and clearly has gotten under Trump’s notoriously thin skin. As author Jason Pinter writes, though, it’s Klausitis’ family, not Scarborough, who is suffering because of Trump’s tweets.

Ultraconservative Wall Street Journal says Trump’s tweets are ‘ugly even for him’

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Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Social media tends to polarize American politics, but conservatives have joined the left in calling out Trump’s attacks on the dead woman’s family. The Wall Street Journal’s editors are stalwart defenders of conservative politicians and ideas. Nevertheless, in an editorial titled “A Presidential Smear,” they write that the baseless attacks on Scarborough are “ugly.”

S.E. Cupp: Trump is ‘a monster’

S.E. Cupp on CNN

Screenshot / CNN

CNN commentator S.E. Cupp, a Republican, defended Scarborough and called Trump a “monster” who was “[dragging] a dead woman’s body through the mud.”

Reagan administration official: Trump takes ‘depraved delight’ in hurting others

Peter Wehner, who served in the Reagan administration and both Bush administrations, writes that Trump revels in causing pain and is not concerned about the suffering he inflicts on the Klausitis family or anyone else.

Romney condemns Trump’s ‘vile, baseless accusations’

Close up of Mitt Romney

Flickr/Gage Skidmore

The GOP selected Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate in 2012 and, just four years later, they selected Donald Trump. While most of the party has embraced the shift to Trumpism and all its cruelty and craziness, Romney is not having it. He called Trump’s accusations against Scarborough “vile” and “baseless” and concluded, “Enough already.” Let’s hope voters say the same in November.

From most of the GOP, deafening silence and convoluted defenses

Jonathan Chait writes that Trump is empowered to act recklessly by his GOP enablers, who have demonstrated time and again that they won’t oppose his bullying in any meaningful way. Chait specifically calls out those who ran against Trump in 2016 and were willing to criticize him then.

Defending the indefensible

Kayleigh McEnany standing behind a podium


Standing silent while Trump torments a grieving family is despicable, but White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany took a different tack. In what one observer called “an utterly embarrassing scene,” McEnany took a question about the tweets and somehow used it to portray Trump as a victim.

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