Late Wednesday evening, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway said the photo of comedienne Kathy Griffin holding up a manufactured bloody, decapitated head of President Donald Trump was a planned-out action, not a “misstep.”
Conway is the first White House official to publicly comment on the image.
“Ample time for reflection/correction,” wrote Conway. Her tweet centered around the idea that Griffin’s participation in creating the image was not a momentary foible. “Kathy Griffin did not misspeak or misstep. She plotted & posed for photoshoot,” she wrote.
Kathy Griffin did not misspeak or misstep. She plotted & posed for photoshoot. Ample time for reflection/correction https://t.co/KmVygz2kfK
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) May 31, 2017
In a video for TMZ during the photo shoot, Griffin makes very clear that she was aware of the extremely severe nature of the photograph. She created the image with controversial photographer Tyler Shields, whom Griffin called “wildly talented.” She said that she and Shields are “not afraid to do images that make noise,” adding that first she is an artist.
After eliciting a high-five from the photographer while looking at the images, Griffin jokes, “We have to move to Mexico today cause we’re gonna go to prison, federal prison.” Shields replies, “Yeah, yeah.” Griffin continues in the TMZ video: “Call your dad, apologize, then let’s you and me and Darrell just go to Mexico today cause we’re not surviving this. K?”
She initially defended the photo against criticism, but by the end of the day had issued an apology. “Hey everybody. It’s me, Kathy Griffin. I sincerely apologize. I am just now seeing the reaction of these images,” she said in a video posted to Instagram. She stated she is a comic and went too far. “The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people. It wasn’t funny. I get it. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career, I will continue,” she said.
As of late Tuesday, CNN had issued a statement that what Griffin did was “disgusting and offensive.” Griffin has participated annually in CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage since 2007.