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GOP Tries to Turn Kathy Griffin’s Trump Stunt Into Political Liability

Variety logo Variety 5/31/2017 Ted Johnson
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Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) is the latest in a long line of politicians and celebrities to condemn Kathy Griffin’s video of her holding up a severed prop head of Donald Trump. She apologized for it hours after it was posted.

“I think she did the right thing, and asking for forgiveness and acknowledging … this was a horrible mistake,” Franken said on CNN.

That’s not the end of it, though. Minnesota Republicans and the Republican National Committee are hammering Franken for his links to Griffin, including his participation in a planned event on July 7 in Los Angeles. They are scheduled to appear together at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, and Franken said that he still plans to appear with her.

He also said that he thinks she can recover from the incident.

Republicans are not just making an issue about a Democrat’s ties to Griffin, but of her links to President Donald Trump’s news media foil, CNN.

On Wednesday, CNN fired Griffin from their annual New Year’s Eve program, which she co-hosted with anchor Anderson Cooper. She and Cooper have a decade-long tradition of hosting coverage from Times Square. Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. pressed the issue earlier in the day. Here’s his response to Jake Tapper’s criticisms of Griffin:

All this could die down by next week, as outrages of the moment tend to get replaced by another. It’s just the nature of the news cycle. Moreover, there have been no shortage of Trump’s detractors pointing out the outrageous comments made during President Barack Obama’s term by Ted Nugent, who recently visited the White House.

The difference is that Griffin actions were not verbal statements, but visual images, part of a photo shoot. They are graphic and disturbing, and may help give this latest backlash a longer lifespan.

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