WOODLAND HILLS — An emotional Kathy Griffin again expressed regret June 2 for the photo in which she appears to be holding President Donald Trump’s bloody severed head, but she berated the president and his family for what she described as a bullying campaign.
“This is America and you shouldn’t have to die for it,” the comedian said at the Woodland Hills office of her attorney, Lisa Bloom. “The death threats that I am getting are constant and they are detailed, and they are serious and they are specific. And today it’s me, and tomorrow it could be you.”
She again apologized for the image, which her attorney said was intended as a “parody” of remarks Trump made during his campaign, with the then-candidate saying presidential debate moderator Megyn Kelly “had blood coming out of her eyes, she had blood coming out of her whatever.”
Griffin said she’s an “in-your-face comedianæ who loves to make people laugh and, in this case, “I made a horrible mistake.”
“You know I make mistakes,” she said. “I’m an out-there comedian. I’m an in-your-face comedian. But I just wanted to say, you know, if you don’t stand up, you get run over, and what’s happening to me has never happened ever in the history of this country. When a sitting president of the United States and his grown children and the first lady are personally — I feel — personally trying to ruin my life forever. Forever. You guys know him. He’s never going to stop. I know him.”
Griffin came under a barrage of criticism when the photo was posted online. Trump responded on Twitter, saying Griffin should be “ashamed of herself” and calling her “sick.” Donald Trump Jr. called the image “disgusting but not surprising,” and he later rejected her video apology, calling it “phony.”
First lady Melania Trump called the photo “very disturbing.”
“When you consider some of the atrocities happening in the world today, a photo opportunity like this is simply wrong and makes you wonder about the mental health of the person who did it,” she wrote on Twitter.
Griffin has since been fired from her New Year’s Eve hosting duties on CNN, and several of her stand-up comedy gigs have been canceled.
Bloom, who praised Griffin for performing for U.S. troops in war zones, said Griffin “never imagined that [the photo] could be misinterpreted as a threat of violence against Trump. That was never what she intended.”
Griffin has a perfect right to parody the president, Bloom said, and her apology “should have been the end” of the discussion. But Bloom said Trump is seeking to have a chilling effect on what Griffin can say.
Griffin “has endured the most powerful man in America and his family using their power to target her and her employers after she apologized,” Bloom said. “The president took a break from his busy schedule of tweeting nonsense words targeting her satire, calling her sick.
“Melania Trump, who has remained silent about her husband’s effort to deny health care to 24 million Americans, cut Meals on Wheels and Planned Parenthood, chose to break her silence on news events to personally challenge Kathy’s mental health,” Bloom said. “Donald Trump Jr. took a break from killing leopards and elephants to hound CNN and its anchors on Twitter to try to get them not just to fire her but to ban her from the network where she has worked for 10 years.”
There’s been no immediate reaction from the White House on the comments.
A tearful Griffin said the pressure “broke” her, but she said she has no intention of changing her style, even though she has no idea what the future holds for her career.
“This bully, and this president of all people, is going to come after me? He picked the wrong redhead,” she said. “I only know how to do comedy one way. It’s in-your-face comedy. I keep it real. I’m gonna make fun of the president, and you know what? I’m gonna make fun of him more now.”