Donald Trump is not a normal president and the normal rules of decorum do not apply to him.
Don’t like me saying that? Think it makes me a hypocrite? Then you’re pretty fucking terrible at reading people, because Trump his entire charmed life has behaved as if the rules don’t apply to him. So why the fuck should he get treated like normal heads of state?
For the record: Kathy Griffin’s beheading photo was over the top and stupid, and I still defend it as valid (and again, totally stupid) political speech. It’s not that hard. In fact, it’s literally what the First Amendment is about — respecting someone’s right to say and think shit I think is dumb as fuck enough to let them say and think dumb as fuck shit without threat of legal retribution or consequence. Notice I said “legal” consequence, not all consequence whatsoever.
I’m not here to condemn Griffin’s firing. I’m here to offer some perspective on her “victim.” He is anything of the sort.
Trump is a (proud) bully, and bullies sometimes don’t respond to anything but a smack in kind. Griffin’s photo might not have been right in tone, but in terms of meeting the blunt brutality of Trump’s abuse head-on, it certainly got the job done. She’s not a hero for it, but Griffin is certainly no chicken either, with or without her apology.
Republicans quick to clutch their pearls over Griffin need to remember who they elected. They elected the meanest, nastiest bully in history to ever sit in the Oval Office as Commander in Chief. And they did it so they could cynically steal a Supreme Court justice seat from the black Democrat. Electing anyone under those pretenses is a sad judgment on them, but to elect the most obnoxious, insulting, vile, sexist pig possible gleefully in the process?
When did Trump say sorry to Obama and his kids for basically screaming, “HE’S AN UN-AMERICAN NIGGER!” at the top of his lungs for eight years? When did Trump say sorry to any of the women he’s admitted to sexually assaulting? Griffin at least showed contrition after the shit came screaming down upon her head, Trump has never nor will he ever show such humility and acknowledgment of his transgressions.
Fuck their concern trolling. As my colleague Manny pointed out in his piece on this subject, the right never said a fucking word when Ted Nugent was threatening Obama’s life or calling Hillary Clinton all kinds of names.
Any liberals out there about to jump my shit for defending something I’d condemn if it were Obama: Spare me.
Going high when they go low didn’t win the election last year. Moral high ground is nice, but you don’t concede it when you defend someone’s right to make a jackass out out of themselves. Especially not when the butt of her bad joke is someone who so empirically deserves to be shit on literally all the time. Not to mention the hypocrisy of conservatives who say the most terrifically horrid things about what should happen to Hillary Clinton getting offended by this. If it had been Hillary’s head she was holding up, Griffin would be in Trump’s cabinet by now.
Not that I’m saying Kathy deserves a medal for this stunt. As a comedian who makes his bones pushing the boundaries of socially-acceptable satire, I can sympathize with Kathy’s presumed sadness over losing her gig, but I know it’s a price you have to be willing to risk paying to live out on the edge that she just danced on and jumped over. Griffin is far braver than most of the morons on either the left or the right raking her over the coals for the picture.
She made a mistake. A pretty big one. But she already did what I’ve never seen Trump do — she apologized.
Donald Trump is a racist, inane, likely senile old bag of shit who insults everyone and everything he wants to. He’s not just done this since being elected, or since being a candidate. He has a long, long, long documented history of this kind of shit. And again, REPUBLICANS LINED UP WITH BATED BREATH TO FUCKING ELECT HIM. They elected the guy who insults people so much, it inspired this fully fact-checked piece from The New York Times last year.
Would I have had my picture taken with a bloody, severed head of a sitting president? Probably not. But I do spend a lot of time on Twitter encouraging him and his surrogates to eat their own asshole secretions with a spoon. I do tell Ann Coulter to jump in a fire, or play in traffic. Not the same thing, but it’s in the same vein.
I’m not even going to argue or defend the artistic merits or vision of Griffin’s choice. It’s up to each individual to make that evaluation for their own sensibilities. Both sides have been guilty of using this kind of imagery about each other. But it’s Republican hypocrisy in its pluperfect tense to pretend as if a) some among them didn’t regularly traffick in such imagery with Obama and that b) Trump doesn’t do this kind of shit to people all the time.
Anyone who legitimately thinks Kathy Griffin poses a threat to society or Trump himself is an idiot.
When you make your professional and personal reputation on being the guy willing to be the biggest asshole, say the biggest asshole things, and be only concerned about your own little asshole self, some people are going to hate you. That hate can and will manifest in some ill-advised ways. It doesn’t exonerate Griffin, but it should keep us all from starting a lynching party over it.
If Kathy Griffin made a mistake, Donald Trump has made a lifetime of mistakes. And no one has ever held him accountable for them. In losing her CNN gig, Griffin has now faced far more real consequences than Trump’s racist Birther shtick cost him. She has suffered more for her one photo than Trump has for a lifetime of bullying, threats, and intimidation.
So by all means, if her joke didn’t land with you, tell Kathy Griffin all about it. Just don’t try to sell me — or anyone else with half a brain cell — on this notion that on some level Trump doesn’t deserve to be treated differently than other presidents have been. He wants that difference in treatment. He demands it.
I guess, then, to summarize myself more concisely, I think the takeaway is this: Condemn Kathy Griffin all you want. But if you do so while defending Trump as being anyone worth defending, you’re not being enlightened, you’re just enabling his own shitty behavior by not holding him accountable in the same ways we want to hold Griffin accountable.
Donald Trump deserves no defense.
You can follow James on Twitter @JamesSchlarmann.