Donald Trump has labelled a picture of comedian Kathy Griffin holding a prop resembling his severed head as “sick” and said that his youngest son Barron is having a hard time processing it.
Sandwiched in between tweets defending his 2016 campaign staff against alleged ties to Russia, and a plea to Congressional Republicans to quickly pass his healthcare bill, Mr Trump said Ms Griffin should be ashamed of herself.
“Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself,” he wrote. “My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!”
In the hours after the tweet by Mr Trump, CNN - where Ms Griffin has co-hosted a New Year's Eve programme since 2007 - announced it was terminating their agreement with Ms Griffin to appear on the programme.
It’s not the first time Mr Trump has appended the word “sick” to a tweet, but it may be the first time that the person he’s denouncing may agree with him to some degree. Ms Griffin, following public outrage over the picture of her holding the severed head, apologised.
“I am sorry. I went too far. I was wrong,” Ms Griffin tweeted alongside a video apology.
I am sorry. I went too far. I was wrong. pic.twitter.com/LBKvqf9xFB— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) May 30, 2017
Trump’s youngest, Barron, reportedly first saw the image while watching television with his mom at home, a Trump family source told celebrity website TMZ. “He’s 11. He doesn’t know who Kathy Griffin is and the head she was holding resembled his dad,” that source said.
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Ms Griffin had originally said that she wasn’t afraid to pose for provocative photos like the one that has sparked outrage. During the photo shoot with Tyler Shields, she even joked that she may have to flee with Mr Shields to Mexico after their release for fear that they’d be thrown in prison. Mr Shields is known for “edgy, shocking” photos.
Melania Trump said in a statement that, “As a mother, a wife, and a human being, that photo is 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.”
In addition to the Trump’s condemnation of the picture – and much of the internet’s – Ms Griffin’s co-host on CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live, Anderson Cooper, tweeted that he was “appalled” by the picture.
“For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in,” Mr Cooper wrote. “It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.”
Others online posted similar sentiments, saying that posting a picture that resembles the gory imagery of Isis propaganda and scare posts has no place in American political discourse.
“Just don’t. Not helpful,” Republican political strategist Rick Wilson wrote on Twitter.
In other circles online, the photo became a prime example of purported liberal double standards. Those individuals said that a similar post with a Democratic president would draw much more intense outrage than Ms Griffin’s picture did (President Barack Obama was not exempt from being the target of gallows humour, however).
“I won’t pretend to be outraged by the Kathy Griffin thing, but I will continue to be outraged by the blatant double standard it represents,” Alex Griswold, a reporter at the conservative Washington Free Beacon, wrote.Reuse content