Opinion The Malignant Cruelty of Donald Trump
‘A moonshot mission’: Trump campaign eyes a return to megarallies
The president’s 2020 team wants him discussing a wider range of GOP-friendly issues — without the perpetually grim tone of a pandemic.In recent meetings with top campaign officials and White House aides, Trump has questioned why he’s avoiding campaign events if it‘s safe for him to travel in his official capacity. The president visited two medical supply facilities in Arizona and Pennsylvania this month and will tour a Ford ventilator factory in Michigan on Thursday. The official White House travel replaced what would have otherwise been a much busier campaign season for the president, who held three rallies in three days at the end of February.
“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.”
There may be a more damning thing that’s been said about an American president, but none immediately comes to mind.
This sentence is fromwritten by Timothy Klausutis to Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, asking Dorsey to delete a series of tweets by Donald Trump. Klausutis is the widower of Lori Kaye Klausutis, who died nearly 20 years ago. (Timothy Klausutis, who never remarried, still lives in the house he shared with his wife.) The conducted at the time of Lori’s death confirmed that it was an accident; she had fainted as the result of a heart condition, hitting her head on a desk. There’s not a thimble of evidence of foul play.
Trump declares churches 'essential,' calls on them to reopen
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has labeled churches and other houses of worship as “essential" and called on governors nationwide to let them reopen this weekend even though some areas remain under coronavirus lockdown. WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has labeled churches and other houses of worship as “essential" and called on governors nationwide to let them reopen this weekend even though some areas remain under coronavirus lockdown.
But here’s where things go from being tragic to being twisted.
When Lori Klausutis died, she worked for then–Republican Representative Joe Scarborough. Today, Scarborough is a fierce critic of the president from his perch at MSNBC, where he co-hosts Morning Joe. That is why the president has been peddling athat Scarborough had Klausutis murdered.
This is a topic most journalists are inherently reluctant to cover, given the danger that it will draw more attention to a vile lie. But with the president and his son Don Jr., who between them have more than 85 million Twitter followers, sending out lunatic tweets and calling for “the opening of a Cold Case against Psycho Joe Scarborough,” human decency requires a response.
Trump opts for a 2016 disruption strategy that Democrats say is ill-suited for a pandemic
The president’s message has at times seemed incongruent with the present reality as he tries to lead the federal government’s response to the worst crisis in a generation. In recent days, as the coronavirus death toll has approached 100,000, Trump has pushed conspiracy theories alleging criminality by his predecessor, made baseless charges of voter fraud, accused dozens of people of felonies, used taxpayer-funded events to advance his political message and fanned coronavirus culture wars over issues such as face masks and church closings.
That Donald Trump would resort to conspiracy theories to attack his perceived enemies is hardly a revelation. After all, Trumpagainst Barack Obama, which helped him gain political prominence in the Republican Party, and that President Obama had wiretapped his phones. During the 2016 primary, Trump and who claimed that Marco Rubio was ineligible to run because his parents were not natural-born U.S. citizens. Trump that the suicide of Vince Foster, a former aide to President Bill Clinton, and were murders; that ; and that . He’s claimed that climate change is “a total and very expensive hoax” by China’s government, that a that , and that . (Business Insider provided of more than two dozen of Trump’s conspiracy theories in October.)
Why Are So Many Republicans Remaining Silent?
Not a single congressional Republican from Florida was willing to comment about President Trump’s attacks on their former colleague Joe Scarborough.Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.
Conspiracy theories have long been evidence of Trump’s twisted psychology. He has always traveled quite easily from the real world to the twilight zone, depending on which reality suits his needs at the moment. And when someone holds him accountable—when someone calls him out for his incompetence and ethical wrongdoing—conspiracy theories often become his weapon of choice. At such moments, conspiracy theories are fine, but conspiracy theories with the added element of cruelty are even better. Which brings us back to the heartbreaking letter from Timothy Klausutis.
Donald Trump doesn’t merely want to criticize his opponents; he takes a depraved delight in inflicting pain on others, even if there’s collateral damage in the process, as is the case with the Klausutis family. There’s something quite sick about it all.
A lot of human casualties result from the cruelty of malignant narcissists like Donald Trump—casualties, it should be said, that his supporters in the Republican Party, on various pro-Trump websites and news outlets, and on talk radio are willing to tolerate or even defend. Their philosophy seems to be that you need to break a few eggs to make an omelet. If putting up with Trump’s indecency is the price of maintaining power, so be it. Will Trump’s white evangelical supporters—Franklin Graham Jr., Robert Jeffress, Eric Metaxas, Mike Huckabee, Ralph Reed—defend his behavior as the perfect embodiment of the New Testament ethic, the credo of Jesus, the message from the Sermon on the Mount? “Blessed are the brutal, for they shall inherit the Earth.”
Trump Is a Problem That Twitter Cannot Fix
When a duly elected president is bent on spreading misinformation, tech companies can rein him in only so much.Donald Trump’s tweets pose a special problem for Twitter. Absolutely no one can be surprised that the president is using the platform to tweet false and inflammatory claims in the middle of a global pandemic and the lead-up to an election: This is the president’s signature style. His recent tweets have promoted baseless conspiracy theories about the death of Lori Klausutis, a former staffer for Republican congressman–turned–MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, and falsely claimed that an expansion of mail-in voting would rig the 2020 election.
Some people will argue that Trump’s promotion of this conspiracy theory is just his latest distraction, a shiny object to pull our focus away from the human and economic cost of COVID-19. Maybe. But I’m not at all convinced that this will help Trump politically.
Remember, Trump’s approval rating was often well under 50 percent even when the economy was doing well and America was at relative peace abroad. There’s plenty of evidence, including the 2018 midterm elections, that Trump’s dehumanizing tactics erode his support, especially among white suburban women. And I rather doubt that people will have forgotten Trump’s reckless handling of the pandemic by November; defaming the memory of a woman who died nearly two decades ago and causing renewed grief for her family isn’t likely to help him with most voters, either.
But whatever the political ramifications of this current lie being promulgated by the president, the rest of us need to name it, and to make Trump supporters own it. They are his, and he is theirs.
In his letter to Jack Dorsey, Timothy Klausutis wrote that his wife’s death, in 2001, was “the single most painful thing that I have ever had to deal with in my 52 years and continues to haunt her parents and sister.” He added:
Trump’s campaign tries to recapture its magic on the virtual campaign trail. Will it succeed?
The president's reelection team has embraced virtual events and believes they provide a major advantage over Joe Biden on the “digital campaign trail.” “It took Joe Biden like four days to set up a podium in his basement. We flipped the switch in 24 hours,” Trump campaign deputy communications director Erin Perrine said in an interview with Yahoo News.The Trump campaign is eager to contrast their swift embrace of virtual events with Biden’s, which took a few days to construct a studio in his Delaware home and whose initial online events were beset by technical glitches.
I have mourned my wife every day since her passing. I have tried to honor her memory and our marriage. As her husband, I feel that one of my marital obligations is to protect her memory as I would have protected her in life. 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.
The frequency, intensity, ugliness, and promulgation of these horrifying lies ever increases on the internet. These conspiracy theorists, including most recently the President of the United States, continue to spread their bile and misinformation on your platform disparaging the memory of my wife and our marriage.
Near the end of his letter to Dorsey, asking him to delete Trump’s tweets—which Dorsey has declined to do—Klausutis wrote:
I would also ask that you consider Lori’s niece and two nephews who will eventually come across this filth in the future. They have never met their Aunt and it pains me to think they would ever have to “learn” about her this way.
My wife deserves better.
There is a wickedness in our president that long ago corrupted him. It’s corrupted his party. And it’s in the process of corrupting our country, too.
He is a crimson stain on American decency. He needs to go.
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