President Donald Trump once again baselessly accused MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough of murder Wednesday, this time doing it on Brian Kilmeade’s daily radio program with no pushback from the host.
Kilmeade, a Fox News host, asked Trump why he targets attacks individual cable news hosts when there are “so many other huge problems out there.” America is still contending with the deadly coronavirus pandemic and has seen days of unrest and protest in various cities since the Memorial Day police killing of unarmed black man George Floyd.
The president’s response to questions about his attacks on television personalities, saying “I just do it. People hit me, I hit back. I fight. I’ve always felt that about Scarborough. A lot of people in Florida felt he got away with murder, I think. I’ve always felt that. That’s not an uncommon story, if you look at it, so we don’t have to waste time on it but I always felt that he got away with murder. That was my feeling, very strong feeling, and I do feel it.”
Trump has resurrected this conspiracy theory about Scarborough — which centers on the death of a former congressional aide named Lori Klausutis 19 years ago — in recent weeks, tweeting about it to the point that Scarborough addressed it on his show last week and the aide’s widower appealed to Twitter to get the messages removed from the platform.
“I didn’t know Lori well. She worked in an annex office in Okaloosa. I met her a couple of times at a couple of events but after she passed away, [her husband] T.J. told me that she was working in a bank — and I hope I have all these details right because it’s been several years since we talked about this — but she was working in a bank and she decided that she wanted — she was a lifelong Republican, faithful Catholic — she decided she wanted to work in something like you said, something bigger than herself,” he said last week of Klausutis, who had an undiagnosed heart condition. She died after hitting her head on her office desk.
Scarborough continually noted that Klausutis “wanted to give back to the country that she loved.” He then lambasted 19 years’ worth of political opponents for seizing on her story before adding it’s led to “the President of the United States sullying this good woman’s name.”
Though other Fox News personalities like Brit Hume and Guy Benson have publicly condemned Trump’s commentary on Klausutis’ death, Kilmeade Wednesday offered no pushback, leaving room for Trump to continue attacking another cable news personality: Chris Cuomo. As he did Tuesday, Trump insulted Cuomo’s ratings. Tuesday, that led to a tweet from CNN’s public relations department asking if he should be focusing on other things happening in the country.
Trump re-upped his Cuomo attack on the radio show, calling his ratings “terrible” and praising “Fox & Friends” for its ratings. “Cuomo Prime Time” was CNN’s top-rated program in May among total viewers, bringing in 1,948,00 on average, as well as in the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults from 25-54, bringing in 513,000. The program had its highest ratings in history for the past two months among total viewers and out-performed MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” in that key demo for the second straight month.
Kilmeade did offer some pushback on the ratings comparison between his early-morning program and CNN’s primetime offering, telling Trump there is “always room for improvement.”