I just watched the Kathy Griffin press conference. The justification for the mdia event that Griffin is “fighting back” against “bullying” from President Trump and his family over her bloody head bit.
1. Presidents shouldn’t “punch down” against civilians, even celebrities, even ridiculous celebrities like Griffin. It is indeed a form of bullying. I have written about this before. It is an abuse of power and position no matter what the provocation. The public would have been more sympathetic to him and his family if he had just kept quiet. He can’t help himself, and he will not learn.
2. Anyone who doesn’t think Griffin was counting on, praying for, a twitter war to break out between her and POTUS over her visual attack on him (and the office, and the country) by holding up an effigy of his severed head really is too innocent and naiive to talk about this issue. Thus her protests—tearful protests!—over her stunt backfiring have to be seen for the sham that they are. She didn’t just ask for this, she was counting on it. What she didn’t foresee was having no defenders except Jim Carey and a few others.
Did you have any doubt that the photo would prompt a tweet from Trump? Did anyone?
3. Griffin could have prevented what she is whining about by the simple, ethical and obvious act of apologizing to the First Family. She still hasn’t done it. For all the “of course it was terrible and I made a horrible mistake,” Griffin refuses to be contrite, remorseful and genuinely sorry to the primary parties she offended. Indeed, at the press conference she continued to insult the President.
Her stance is an odd one: she is simultaneously arguing the Joke Excuse and the Jester’s Privilege as the bloody head applies to the President and his family, but apologizing to everyone else. You have to pick one, Kathy.
4. For some reason Griffin started blathering about the First Amendment. Nobody is talking about punishing her for the content of her hilarious joke beheading. Sure, she’s being investigated, but that’s routine when you evoke an assassination. This, and her tears at the end (Griffin is an actress; I don’t believe them for a second), strongly suggests that she is bidding for victim status and sympathy. “He broke me!’ she says. She broke herself, to the extent she is broken at all, which I doubt. She will have a burgeoning career at anti-Trump events, rallies and fund-raisers for the next 4-8 years. Maybe she and Rosie O’Donnell will do a concert tour.
5. We also heard about mean tweets, social media attacks and death threats. I am sure Griffin is getting some, just like Michael Richards got death threats after he stated screaming racial epithets at some black audience members for no apparent reason.That was also permitted by the First Amendment, but Richards was smart enough not to use that defense. Death threats are always wrong; the President isn’t responsible for them; he lays himself open to being called responsible by punching down; she was going to get death threats whether he tweeted or not; Griffin is using the threats to try to shift blame to Trump. I think that about covers the death threats.
Conclusion: The press conference was a promotional stunt, designed to make Griffin look sympathetic and minimize the harm to her career. I would call it dishonest, but this was so transparent that it can’t qualify as a genuine effort to deceive. It’s show biz, after all. Donald Trump should understand that better than anybody.