Donald Trump on Wednesday castigated a US comedian who came under fire from liberals and conservatives over a grisly photo that showed her holding up a prop depicting the president’s bloodied severed head.
Kathy Griffin apologized for the picture — released on Tuesday by the celebrity photographer Tyler Shields — after a storm of criticism across the political spectrum, saying in a video “I beg for your forgiveness” for having “crossed a line.”
“Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself,” Trump tweeted. “My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!”
“That photo is very disturbing,” First Lady Melania Trump said in a statement.
“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,” she added.
Griffin, an outspoken Trump critic who won two Emmy awards for her reality show “My Life on the D List,” said she would ask Shields to remove the image from the internet.
“I beg for your forgiveness. I went too far. I made a mistake and I was wrong,” she said in a 31-second video posted to social media late Tuesday.
Conservatives who slammed the photograph included Trump’s eldest son Donald Jr, who runs the family business in New York, and Mitt Romney, the defeated 2012 Republican presidential nominee.
“Our politics have become too base, too low & too vulgar, but Kathy Griffin’s post descends into an even more repugnant & vile territory,” Romney tweeted.
Even Trump critics vented disapproval. Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of Trump’s former election rival Hillary — called the picture “vile and wrong.”
“It is never funny to joke about killing a president,” she tweeted.
Al Franken, Democratic Senator from Minnesota and a former comedian on long-running television show Saturday Night Live, also condemned the photograph.
“I think she was thinking she was making some artistic statement, but that image has no place in our political dialogue,” he told MSNBC.
CNN, on which Griffin co-hosts a New Year’s Eve program, also denounced the picture and said it was “evaluating” its New Year’s coverage.
The Secret Service said it would look into the incident, posting on Twitter that threats against protectees “receive the highest priority of all of our investigations.”
Squatty Potty, a Utah-based bathroom products company, suspended an advertising campaign featuring Griffin, calling the picture “deeply inappropriate.” – AFP