Comedienne Kathy Griffin has been dominating the news cycles for the last several days, ever since a piece of photo art depicting her holding a bloody Trump mask went viral. The image was part of a photo shoot involving controversial photographer Tyler Shields, and it ultimately appears to have cost Griffin her career. Social media has lambasted Griffin, with people demanding boycotts, contacting the United States Secret Service and comparing the photo to something straight out of ISIS. Donald and Melania Trump even joined in the attacks, taking to Twitter to call out Griffin, question her mental health, and claim that their 11-year-old son Barron was traumatized by the photograph, which Griffin has since apologized for.
However, in the midst of all the conservative outrage against Griffin and her artistic depiction of decapitated Donald Trump, some are wondering if the administration (and political right) aren’t displaying a huge double standard with their treatment of the former Seinfeld actress. After all, as CNN reports, it wasn’t all that long ago that Ted Nugent was threatening to shoot Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and even calling for the decapitation of all Democrats. However, rather than take him to task on social media for threats of violence, Donald Trump invited him to the White House for dinner.
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
Back in 2007, Ted Nugent launched into a vile and violent verbal assault against then-candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton from a concert stage. During his tirade, he was holding a pair of machine guns.
“Obama, he’s a piece of s***. I told him to suck on my machine gun. Hey Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless b****.”
In 2012, Nugent advocated the decapitation of all Democrats while speaking at an NRA event. Actual living, breathing human beings. Not just the bloodied, rubber, Trump-like mask that Kathy Griffin held in her now-notorious photograph.
“We need to ride onto that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”
During that same speech, Ted Nugent also targeted President Barack Obama directly. Obama was seeking re-election, and Nugent spoke of a truly chilling threat if he were to win.
“If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will be either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”
As Media Matters reports, Ted Nugent appeared on WBAP’s The Ben Ferguson Show on May 31. During that interview, host Ted Ferguson pointed out the parallels that many are drawing between his past threats against Barack Obama and the current situation involving Kathy Griffin. Nugent utterly refused to even acknowledge his previous threatening and violent statements about Obama, but he did admit that he’d called on Hillary Clinton to be hanged for “treason” in relation to the infamous Benghazi attack.
Many Americans were shocked and outraged at Ted Nugent’s threatening words against Barack Obama, both as a presidential candidate and then as a sitting POTUS, and many took to Twitter to call out Nugent for his threats (although most admitted to believing the rocker was all talk). However, one high-profile American citizen never condemned Nugent’s attacks on Obama, possibly because he was in the midst of launching his own. That person? Donald Trump.
While Ted Nugent was talking about decapitating Democrats and being “dead or in jail” if Barack Obama was re-elected, Donald Trump was spreading the fake news that Obama’s birth certificate was fake. He was also personally defending Ted Nugent on Twitter.
Ted Nugent was obviously using a figure of speech, unfortunate as it was. It just shows the anger people have towards @BarackObama.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 19, 2012
According to Trump, Ted Nugent’s threats against Barack Obama were nothing more than a “figure of speech.” He never suggested that Nugent should “be ashamed of himself.”
He certainly wasn’t tweeting out that Nugent was “sick” when Ted was hatefully threatening Obama.
In fact, Donald Trump responded faster and more vehemently to the photo of Kathy Griffin holding his faux severed head than he did to the news that three men had had their throats slit (two of them fatally) on a Portland commuter train. It took Trump three full days to respond to that attack, and when a response did come, it was from the official POTUS Twitter account. Trump responded to the Griffin photo within 24 hours, from his more commonly used personal Twitter account.
The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable. The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them.— President Trump (@POTUS) May 29, 2017
Donald Trump’s response to Ted Nugent’s vile words against President Obama was a horse of a much different color. During the campaign season, Ted Nugent was an ardent Trump supporter. Despite Nugent’s history of making threats of violence against Obama, Trump never censured him publicly or attempted to distance himself from Nugent. In April, Ted Nugent, Sarah Palin, and Kid Rock (along with their respective spouses) visited the White House for dinner, even meeting with Trump personally.
Nugent and his wife even posed with the new POTUS.
The White House “guests of honor” even posed mockingly in front of the official portrait of Hillary Clinton, a woman who Nugent wants to see hanged. All while visiting Donald Trump. All despite Nugent’s threats of violence against Barack Obama.
During a White House press briefing on Wednesday, members of the media attempted to ascertain the reason behind the Trump Griffin/Nugent double standard. However, Press Secretary Sean Spicer refused to say why Ted Nugent got a White House invitation while Kathy Griffin is being publicly shamed by the most powerful family in the nation.
“Obviously [Griffin’s] conduct has been widely condemned, and it’s not a partisan thing to say joking about violence toward the president is unacceptable. But on that note, I wanted to ask about Ted Nugent, who joked multiple times about assassinating President Barack Obama, who said Hillary Clinton should be hanged. He was invited to the White House for dinner by President Trump. Do you believe that was appropriate? And if Trump is offended by this incident, why was he not bothered by all of Mr. Nugent’s comments?”
Sean Spicer utterly refused to address the double standard, simply referencing the Trump family’s statements regarding Griffin and saying he would let those statements stand.
Sean Spicer refuses to say why @realDonaldTrump invited Ted Nugent to dinner at the White House after his death threats to Obama & Hillary— Richard Hine (@richardhine) May 31, 2017
As Variety reports, Kathy Griffin gave a press conference condemning the Trump family for their treatment of her following the release of the bloody Trump mask photo. She claims that the Trumps are “personally trying to ruin my life forever,” as opposed to their treatment of Ted Nugent, who got the presidential treatment after threatening to kill Obama and Hillary.
“What’s happening to me has never happened in this great country. I don’t think I will have a career after this. I am going to be honest, he broke me. He broke me. And then I felt, ‘This isn’t right. This is not right.’ And I apologized because that was the right thing to do an I meant it.”
According to Griffin’s attorney Lisa Bloom, her client has even been contacted by the Secret Service in connection with the photograph and has even been forced to retain a criminal attorney. It goes without saying that the Secret Service weren’t contacting her to invite her to dine at the White House with Ted Nugent and Trump. Even so, Griffin says she won’t be bullied.
“I am not afraid of Donald Trump. He’s a bully.”
But Kathy is a woman and held to a higher standard.— KM Cash (@km_cash) May 31, 2017
Ted Nugent says he wants Obama dead & GOP invites him to the White House. Kathy Griffin crosses the line and liberals get her to apologize.— Kaivan Shroff (@KaivanShroff) May 31, 2017
Trump upset with Kathy Griffin but he had no problem inviting Ted Nugent to White House after Nugent made threats versus Obama and Hillary— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@Deanofcomedy) May 31, 2017
Ouch, someone just asked how Trump can be offended by Kathy Griffin yet invited Ted Nugent to the White House.— Ragnarok Lobster (@eclecticbrotha) May 31, 2017
It's different when you're white, male and republican.— No2OrangePOTUS (@WithHerStill) May 31, 2017
While Donald Trump has warmly and openly embraced Nugent despite his hateful and threatening words against Barack Obama, he has a history of being less than kind to people who oppose or cross him.
As ThinkProgress reports, in addition to staying friendly with Ted Nugent following his distasteful anti-Obama tirades, Trump occasionally used violent terminology throughout his presidential campaign. In February 2016, he encouraged his supporters to “knock the crap out of” anti-Trump protesters, even offering to cover their legal fees if they did. In August 2016, he stated that “Second Amendment people” could be the last line of defense against Hillary Clinton. At one point he even said of a protester that he “like[s] to punch him in the face.”
“You know what they used to do to a guy like that in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.”
It appears that the POTUS isn’t averse to threats of violence when made by himself or his supporters. He’s just not too keen on being the target of any perceived negativity, not even for artistic purposes. And he’s not above using his considerable influence to curtail the efforts of those who publicly cross him.
What do you think of the disparity of the Trump response to Kathy Griffin and the bloody mask pic vs. how the POTUS seemingly rewarded Ted Nugent for his threats of violence against Barack Obama? Let us know in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Paul Sancya/AP Images]