Kathy Griffin walked into her home office just before noon in late June, still wearing pajamas. The comedian, who regularly stays up late, had just woken up to news of President Trump’s latest Twitter tear. Trump had covered a wide range of topics in a series of tweets, from denouncing Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the election to House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer — or, as Trump called him in a tweet that morning, “Cryin’ Chuck.”
“Why are people still expecting me to apologize and grovel to a man that tweets like this?” Griffin vented to me. “I’m a comedian; he’s our fucking president.”
It had been 23 days since a photograph of Griffin holding a Donald Trump mask covered in fake blood completely altered her life. Cooked up as satire in a single afternoon, it first appeared on TMZ and then spread across social media rapidly, uniting Republicans and Democrats in outrage. Griffin released a video apology almost immediately after the photo’s release, but the damage was done; the next day, Trump intensified the backlash by tweeting a claim that his son Barron, 11, was having a difficult time dealing with the image. And members of the First Family, including Trump’s two older sons, launched an aggressive public campaign against Griffin.
In the following days, the Secret Service opened an investigation; Griffin was fired from the CNN New Year’s Eve broadcast that she had co-hosted with Anderson Cooper for ten years; a lucrative endorsement contract was canceled, and so were 15 scheduled live performances, owing to bomb threats, which she estimates cost her more than a million dollars. Thousands of death threats rolled in, some of her close friends abandoned her, and even her beloved Fox News–loving mother, Maggie Griffin, joked to her daughter that she would not have her support.
A carefully choreographed apology tour might have helped Griffin move past the controversy — the video she filmed the day the photo was released felt hasty, and a defensive press conference a few days later was widely criticized after Griffin (who had, after all, fired the first salvo against Trump) presented herself as a victim. But moving on doesn’t seem to be on Griffin’s mind: The short promotional video she just released for her new Laugh Your Head Off tour of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand concludes with an image of her in the same blouse she wore in the infamous Trump photo, holding a globe in her hand instead of a Trump mask. And she’s still angry with the president.
“President Trump just pardoned Joe Arpaio, who was essentially running a concentration camp in the Arizona desert,” she tells me over the phone this past weekend. “He said there are some good Nazis, and he’s kicking out young adults who were brought here as kids by their parents, and I’m the one who has to continue to apologize?”
Read more at The Cut.