First came the photo: comedian Kathy Griffin posing with the “severed head” of President Trump. Then came the apology and the consequences, with Griffin losing her plum New Year’s Eve hosting gig with CNN.
Now, Griffin appears in a political ad from a Republican super PAC, attempting to wrangle Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff into a controversy that had mostly run its course.
“Liberal extremists have gone too far,” says a narrator in the new spot. “Now a celebrity Jon Ossoff supporter is making jokes about beheading the president of the United States.”
The ad is part of a $6.5 million anti-Ossoff effort waged by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a well-funded outfit tied to House GOP leaders that has previously sought to paint the Democrat seeking to represent Georgia’s 6th congressional district as a pawn of out-of-state liberal donors and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
While celebrity support for the Democrat has been a theme of GOP attacks, FEC records show that Griffin has never donated money to Ossoff’s campaign. What she did do — and what is the only evidence CLF offered of her support — is retweet actress Alyssa Milano urging voters to support Ossoff on March 27. That was the first day of early voting for the election’s preliminary round and around the time when several other celebrities traveled to Georgia to get out the vote.
“Jon Ossoff has refused to denounce his supporter Kathy Griffin for over 48 hours after posting distributing images of her and President Trump. His silence speaks volumes,” explained Corry Bliss, CLF’s executive director. “To disagree with a president, or any elected official, on issues or beliefs is normal and often even celebrated in our democracy, but the actions coming from extreme liberals like Kathy Griffin have absolutely no place in civil discourse.”
But Ossoff had not been asked any questions about Griffin, said Ossoff spokeswoman Sacha Haworth. TMZ published the photo on Tuesday at 1:53 p.m. Eastern. Six hours later, Griffin released a short video apologizing for the photo and promising to scrap any future use of it.
The CLF has spent months trying to weaken Ossoff’s appeal to swing voters by tying him to left-wing activism and California donors. On March 31, it released an ad that showed anarchists smashing windows to protest Trump’s inauguration and warned that “they want Ossoff,” a message repeated in the Griffin ad.
“Jon Ossoff believes what Kathy Griffin did was despicable and for Karen Handel’s super PAC to say otherwise is a disgrace,” said Ossoff spokeswoman Sacha Haworth. “Karen Handel should immediately demand this ad be pulled before any more children have to see these disturbing images on TV.”