The President of the United States Is Falsely Accusing a Critic of Murder

Peter Baker and Maggie Astor, reporting for The New York Times:

President Trump smeared a prominent television host on Tuesday from the lectern in the Rose Garden with an unfounded allegation of murder, taking the politics of rage and conspiracy theory to a new level even as much of the political world barely took notice.

Maybe part of the reason “the political world barely took notice” is that the straight news media, exemplified by The Times, has been normalizing Trump’s escalating madness every step of the way. The New York Times front page has been that “This is fine” dog sipping coffee in a burning house. And now we’re at panel 5 in the comic, and The Times’s crackerjack bothsidesism-afflicted political reporters are maybe sort of kind of thinking it’s getting a little worrisomely warm. Maybe?

It’s like yeah, no shit, the rest of us have been pointing out every step of the way that this man is unhinged from reality.

In an attack that once would have been unthinkable for a sitting president, Mr. 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. Mr. Trump doubled down on the false accusation even after Timothy Klausutis pleaded unsuccessfully with Twitter to take down the posts about his late wife because they were causing her family such deep pain.

“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 Mr. Scarborough had committed murder perhaps because of an affair with Ms. Klausutis. “It’s certainly a very suspicious situation. Very sad, very sad and very suspicious.”

Attention New York Times: just because he’s gone and done it doesn’t mean it still isn’t “unthinkable”.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020