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Kathy Griffin: My political support is 'not helpful' to candidates
Kathy Griffin is itching to hit the campaign trail again, but the politically active comedian recognizes she might not be much help to Democratic candidates she wants to support.
"It sucks because I've been so maligned that it's not helpful for me to stump for somebody," Griffin laments in a recent sit-down with ITK.
It's been more than a year since Griffin ignited a media firestorm by posing for a photo shoot with a prop made to look like President Trump's severed head. The Emmy Award-winner lost multiple endorsement deals following the May 2017 snapshot and issued an apology, which she later retracted.
The fallout from her Trump photo and the controversy that surrounds her have, in a way, put a limit on the extent of Griffin's political activism. Before the photo controversy, she hosted events for Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).
"Prior to my Trump photo, that was a good thing. But right now, to tell you the truth, there's so many bots after me and so much misinformation, and people have manipulated the photo that, I mean, I can laugh now but people will still write to me and say, 'OK, I understand it wasn't Donald Trump's severed head. But you shouldn't be taking a picture with any severed head.'"
"And I'm like, 'OK, what, do you think I went to the Severed Heads 'R Us?' "
For now, Griffin says, she'll speak out solely through events that allow her to use her comedic chops. But make no mistake about it, she says: that doesn't mean she's withdrawing from politics.
"I haven't gotten soft at all. My resolve is even stronger."
And, as anyone who follows her on social media can ascertain, she's not backing down from being one of Trump's most vocal Hollywood critics.
"At this point my mom would be a better president than Trump, and she's 90 years old and drinks a box of wine a day. But even she would be better," cracks Griffin.
In addition to her international "Laugh Your Head Off" comedy tour - which last week rolled through Washington - Griffin says she's focused on keeping Democrats "united" going into 2020, citing enduring divisions between supporters of former presidential primary rivals Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
She expresses early support for potential Democratic 2020 contenders Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Booker, but exclaims, "I think one thing that the disinformation campaign coming from everywhere has been effective at messaging - but it's wrong - is acting like the Dems don't have a great lineup to choose from. We have an amazing bench."
Griffin bats away critics who mock her as an out-of-touch, radical liberal celebrity. In June, the former "My Life on the D-List" star was among several - including Madonna and Johnny Depp - who were featured in a Republican National Committee ad called "The Left in 2018: Unhinged."
"Now that Madonna is in that ad with me, I feel like it's as if I did a duet with Madonna," Griffin quips.
After Trump, Griffin says, she doesn't want to see another celebrity become president.
"I'm old-fashioned. I like career politicians," says the comic, who's long made talking about Hollywood stars and pop culture part of her stand-up act.
"It's one of the reasons I love Barack Obama - the fact that he was a community organizer. I actually think that's better training for a career in politics," says Griffin.
Having been in the entertainment industry for decades, the 57-year-old Griffin says, "when you're in show business, to survive you have to make it your first focus - you just do. So that's why I'm just more in favor of a politician, a community servant, a congressperson to be in the highest, highest office."
"Yeah, I love smart celebrities because I like smart people, but I think in this environment it's better to have somebody that's really been around the world," explains Griffin.
Griffin says she'll "never" run for office herself, because she's so "filthy and vulgar."
But she says her political activism will outlive the Trump era.
"If, as the president would say, I get hit by a truck, I want - long after I've kicked the bucket, I want young women, young people of color, young LGBT folks, anyone who is disenfranchised or treated as disenfranchised communities by this administration, to look back at my particular story and go, 'You know what? That 57-year-old, red-haired chick did not go down.' "