Kathy Griffin and civil-rights lawyer Lisa Bloom came for Donald Trump Friday.
"i’m not afraid of Trump," she said. "He’s a bully. I’ve dealt with older white guys trying to keep me down my whole career."
She spoke to reporters in order to address what they both view as a disproportionate response by the president and his family after she posed with a fake, severed Trump head for photographer Tyler Shields.
Those photos, Bloom said, were meant to be a parody of Trump's infamous "blood-blood-coming-out-of-her-whatever" comments about then-Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. "She captioned it, 'There was blood coming out of his wherever.' It was a parody of Trump's own sexist remarks taken to an extreme, absurdist visual."
Following the release of the photo, the president tweeted, "Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11-year-old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!"
Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
His eldest child, Donald Jr., called Griffin's photo "disgusting" in a tweet. On Wednesday, in a flurry of tweets, he called her subsequent apology "phony." He also mocked CNN for lacking the "moral and ethical standards" of Squatty Potty, the toilet stool company who fired Griffin before they did.
In a statement, first lady Melania Trump said the incident makes one "wonder about the mental health of the person who did it."
Bloom said that her client never imagined it could be misinterpreted as a threat of violence against Trump. "That was never what she intended."
In addition to losing her New Year's TV gig on CNN, an endorsement and several standup performances, Griffin has received "detailed, specific" death threats and is under investigation by the United States Secret Service, which her criminal attorney, Dmitry Gorin, expects will be resolved in her favor.
Griffin's hands shook and her voice occasionally became choked as she discussed the emotional impact of the last week.
"He broke me and then iI was like 'No, this isn’t right'. I apologized because was the right thing to do. Then it became a mob mentality pile-on."
Bloom says her client is not in a fair fight.
"He’s not just Donald Trump, real estate developer, having a celebrity feud," she said. "He’s using the power of the government."
She gradually regained her confidence, proclaiming, "He wants to mess with me?" the comedian said at a press conference in Los Angeles. "He picked the wrong redhead!"
Bloom is quite familiar with Trump: She represented Jill Harth, the first woman to publicly accuse Trump of sexual misconduct. Harth, a makeup artist hired to work with him on his pageant business, said he groped and sexually assaulted her in 1997. They settled that case and Harth kept quiet for years until other women began speaking out against him during the 2016 election season. Harth went as far as threatening to countersue him if he followed through on his threats to sue his accusers.
Griffin apologized within hours of the images appearing online. But she was roundly criticized for the photo and suffered financial repercussions, including the loss of her New Year's hosting gig on CNN, an endorsement deal and canceled standup performances in New Jersey and New Mexico.
On Thursday, the State Theatre in New Brunswick and the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood said they made the decision after careful consideration. Griffin was scheduled to perform in her “Celebrity Run-In” tour at the theaters in November. Those who bought tickets will receive refunds.
A New Mexico casino had already announced it was scrapped the comedian's scheduled July 22 performance.
The 56-year-old comic has faced controversies before for her abrasive humor, but none as widespread as the one generated by Tuesday’s images.