Kathy Griffin Briefly Unites Divided Nation With Stupid President-Killing Joke


The good news is Kathy Griffin achieved the impossible Tuesday: She got Donald Trump Jr., Chelsea Clinton, most of the liberals in Hollywood, and a disgraced Republican ex-congressman who was busted for cocaine possession to all publicly agree with each other.

The bad news is they had to agree to something pretty obvious to everyone but Griffin: Jokes about cutting off the head of the president of the United States are not funny.

Griffin went on the defensive May 30 after she and star photographer Tyler Shields published a photo of the D-list celebrity holding a bloody, disembodied, orange-coiffed likeness of President Donald Trump’s noggin. “I won’t give away what we’re doing,” Griffin said in a video of the photo shoot, obtained by TMZ, “but Tyler and I are not afraid to do images that make noise.”

Well, that’s some… noise, I guess:

It’s hard to see how Griffin was mocking Trump. You could mock his sensitivity toward women, his inability to grasp the details of policy, his carelessness with classified information, his reluctance to disavow racist and violent supporters, his childlike whims, and his appetites. But to my knowledge, he has not beheaded anyone or been beheaded himself, which makes it kind of hard to mock him with a faux decapitation.

Also, he’s the president. Taking him down a notch and parading a lifeless likeness of his gore-matted cranium are not exactly the same thing. How do we know? Ask the Secret Service:

Griffin apologized. No one cares much. Even veterans groups that have taken issue with Trump’s policies in the past are righteously angry over Griffin’s tasteless head job.

“The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. strongly condemns comedian Kathy Griffin's incredibly revolting attack on the President of the United States,” VFW National Commander Brian Duffy said in a statement this morning. “Her apology is not accepted. What she did was not humorous nor should it be protected speech or expression. Playing to an audience with a severed head is what our enemies do. The USO should immediately end its relationship with her.”

Griffin, who’s traveled overseas with the USO on several occasions and hosted “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops” a few years back, is also an enthusiastic supporter of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America — in fact, only a few days before tweeting the Trump-head photo, she tweeted a message of support for IAVA’s “Go Silent” Memorial Day campaign.

Task & Purpose reached out to IAVA seeking comment on Griffin’s regicidal humor; calls to IAVA’s press line, executive director, and founder were not returned by press time.

Beyond military circles, the obvious people who would be obviously shocked by Griffin’s obvious attempt at shock humor are, obviously, shocked:

But to be fair, even Hollywood liberals and friends of Griffin are shocked:

And then there’s Trey Radel, known in headlines as the “cocaine congressman,” who had a rich history of drinking, coking, and profiting on the sale of porn domains before the GOP finally prevailed on him to resign in disgrace from Congress in 2014:

Even Trey gets it.

On some level, after the lost weekend America is stumbling through right now, it’s hard to believe there are some social and political norms that haven’t been abrogated yet. But whatever disagreements we all have, wherever this big 241-year-old experiment in self-governance may be headed, we tend to agree that you don’t kill presidents or joke about killing presidents. There are so many jokes to make about presidents that are funny and don’t involve killing them. Any presidents. All presidents!

Celebrities and politicians being generally horrible has long been the default position of the United States. But at least, for a day, they can be horrible together. Thanks for that, Kathy.

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Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.

Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.

Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.

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