Kathy Griffin and civil-rights lawyer Lisa Bloom came for Donald Trump Friday.
"I’m not afraid of Trump," the 56-year-old comedian said. "He’s a bully. I’ve dealt with older white guys trying to keep me down my whole career."
At a press conference, Griffin and Bloom addressed what they both view as a disproportionate response by the president and his family after she posed with a fake, severed Trump head for photographer Tyler Shields.
Bloom said Griffin never imagined it could be misinterpreted as a threat of violence against Trump. "That was never what she intended."
Those photos, Bloom said, were meant to be a parody of Trump's infamous "blood-blood-coming-out-of-her-whatever" comments about then-Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. "She captioned it, 'There was blood coming out of his wherever.' It was a parody of Trump's own sexist remarks taken to an extreme, absurdist visual." Bloom noted that Griffin has a "first amendment right to publicly parody the president."
Following the release of the photo, Trump tweeted, "Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11-year-old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!"
His eldest child, Donald Jr., called Griffin's photo "disgusting" in a tweet. On Wednesday, in a flurry of tweets, he called her subsequent apology "phony." He also mocked CNN for lacking the "moral and ethical standards" of Squatty Potty, the toilet stool company who fired Griffin before they did.
In a statement, first lady Melania Trump said the incident makes one "wonder about the mental health of the person who did it."
Although she is not retracting her apology, Griffin is defending herself because, “if you don’t stand up, you get run over. What is happening to me has never happened in the history of this great country. A sitting president of the United States, his grown children and the first lady are personally, I feel, are trying to ruin my life forever.”
In addition to losing her New Year's TV gig on CNN, an endorsement and several standup performances, Griffin has received "detailed, specific" death threats and is under investigation by the United States Secret Service, which her criminal attorney, Dmitry Gorin, expects will be resolved in her favor.
She called her dismissal from CNN after 10 years "hurtful," and Bloom noted that Larry King, a longtime employee of the network, had commented that Ted Turner would never have fired Griffin.
The comedian's hands shook, her voice occasionally became choked and she fought back tears as she discussed the emotional impact of the last week.
"He broke me and then I was like, 'No, this isn’t right'. I apologized because was the right thing to do. Then it became a mob mentality pile-on."
Bloom says Griffin is not in a fair fight.
"He’s not just Donald Trump, real estate developer, having a celebrity feud," she said. "He’s using the power of the government."
Griffin gradually regained her composure, proclaiming, "He wants to mess with me? He picked the wrong redhead!"
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