Not even Johnny Depp is trying to defend Johnny Depp’s comments to a laughing crowd at a festival last week: “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president? … It’s been a while, and maybe it’s time.”
The actor apologized for his “bad joke” Friday after a backlash, but that hasn’t stopped people — including two members of President Trump’s family — from condemning him.
The relative with arguably more restrained criticism was Lara Trump, the wife of the president’s son Eric.
“At least he apologized. I guess,” President Trump’s daughter-in-law told Sean Hannity, who noted that Depp’s apology also portrayed his comments as benign in intent.
Lara Trump called the actor’s comments “really, really sad — as a family member and as an American.” She also said they were part of a trend in which calls for violence against the president have “become normalized.”
Examples given: Madonna’s statement this year that she’d been considering “blowing up the White House,” and Kathy Griffin’s photo shoot with a prop of Trump’s severed head, and this month a rendition of “Julius Caesar” that depicted Trump being stabbed to death in place of the Roman dictator.
“It’s really sick, Sean,” Lara Trump told Hannity. “The Republican Party is becoming the only party of tolerance here in the United States.”
Her criticism recalled similar accusations by conservatives and pro-Trump personalities that say liberals, the entertainment industry and the news, variously, are to blame for violent rhetoric and incidents such as the congressional baseball shooting.
Eric Trump has not publicly commented on Depp’s remarks, but the president’s other adult son has done so repeatedly.
On Twitter, Donald Trump Jr. promoted calls for Disney to dump the star of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.
“I’d think it would be hard for @Disney to keep him,” Trump Jr. tweeted on Friday.
And Saturday morning, Trump Jr. used Depp-by-association to attack Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) for unrelated reasons.
But I bet she's a YUGE Johnny Depp fan. https://t.co/ErKr0QyAtd
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) June 24, 2017
So far, other member of Trump’s family — and the president himself — have not commented on the assassination “joke,” even as outrage at the actor spreads.
Members of the Trump administration, however, have chimed in.
“President Trump has condemned violence in all forms, and it’s sad that others like Johnny Depp have not followed his lead,” deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNN.
“These things are real,” presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway warned The Washington Post. And a Secret Service spokesman said the agency was “aware” of the actor’s remark.
Last month, Kathy Griffin’s decision to pose with the president’s head provoked first lady Melania Trump to make a rare public condemnation, calling the photo “disturbing” as she questioned the comedian’s mental state.