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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Right-wing media and some conservative lawmakers have taken the rare step of criticizing President Trump over his tweeting of conspiracy theories that accuse MSNBC host Joe Scarborough of murdering a congressional aide, Lori Klausutis, in 2001.

The state of play: Trump has received widespread backlash over his tweets spreading the baseless accusations, including from Klausutis' widower. Authorities at the time suspected no foul play in Klausutis' death and ruled that it was a result of an irregular heartbeat that caused her to collapse and strike her head.

What they're saying: A number of conservative news outlets that often back the president — and that generally wouldn't be supportive of Scarborough, a frequent critic of Trump — have written editorials condemning the remarks.

  • New York Post editorial board: "The president of the United States decided to suggest that a TV morning-show host committed murder. That is a depressing sentence to type."
  • Washington Examiner editorial board: "Whatever his issues with Scarborough, President Trump's crazed Twitter rant on this subject was vile and unworthy of his office ... one could hardly be blamed for reading it and doubting his fitness to lead."
  • Wall Street Journal editorial board: "Perhaps he even thinks this helps him politically, though we can’t imagine how. But Mr. Trump is debasing his office, and he’s hurting the country in doing so."
  • National Review's editorial board: "Trump is clearly driven by his desire to say the most malicious and painful things he can about Scarborough, to take revenge for the former congressman’s now obsessively anti-Trump morning program. The president maintains he doesn’t watch, although this is plainly untrue."

Some Republican lawmakers have also chimed in. House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.) said the president should stop tweeting the conspiracies, telling reporters: "It's causing great pain to the family of the young woman."

  • Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), a frequent Trump foe, tweeted on Wednesday: "I know Joe Scarborough. Joe is a friend of mine. I don't know T.J. Klausutis. Joe can weather vile, baseless accusations but T.J.? His heart is breaking. Enough already."
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) also tweeted that the accusations against Scarborough are "completely unfounded conspiracy," and that Trump should "just stop."

Go deeper: Kayleigh McEnany defends Trump's conspiracy theories about Joe Scarborough

Go deeper

Aug 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

What to expect from Trump's RNC acceptance speech

Staging and lighting is set up on the South Lawn of the White House on August 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On Night 4 of the Republican National Convention, President Trump will deliver a wildly different speech than the one Joe Biden gave last week.

What to watch: Trump will offer a blistering rebuke of Biden’s record and his decades as "a failed" elected official in a closing address that will declare November as a battle between “us vs. them,” campaign officials tell Axios.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.