At a time of strong partisan divide, when one side messes up, the other pounces like a bird of prey.
That happened after comedian Kathy Griffin, who supported Hillary Clinton, posted a 12-second video of her holding what appeared to be President Trump's bloody, severed head. It immediately drew ire from conservatives, as well as some liberals. By Wednesday, CNN had dropped the comedian from its annual New Year's Eve program, which Griffin has co-hosted with Anderson Cooper since 2007.
As the backlash against Griffin continues, many on social media have pointed out what they see as a double standard.
A few times within the past several years, a well-known conservative activist got in hot water over hateful comments about former president Barack Obama. In those instances, though, there was no image of a bloody head; just Ted Nugent's pointed words, some of which prompted a Secret Service investigation. Trump would later host the hard rocker at the White House — a recent memory that many on Twitter brought up in the aftermath of Griffin's controversial post.
Their cumulative sentiment: Both spewed hatred. Griffin was punished for it. Nugent became a White House guest.
You old enough to remember your silence at Ted Nugent calling for Obama to be hanged? No? So pipe down now, too. Grown-ups got this. https://t.co/KrwYhRINhl
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) May 30, 2017
Remember that time you sought and accepted the endorsement of violently racist pederast Ted Nugent for your presidential bid? Good times. https://t.co/wXcKs5rcel
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) May 31, 2017
Ted Nugent called for the death of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He then got invited to the White House. Your argument is null. https://t.co/xLWU3Yyoom
— Sarah Wood (@sarahwoodwriter) May 31, 2017
Nugent, a gun rights activist, is known for his heated remarks about Obama that stretch back to at least 2007, when the former president was competing against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Nugent went on a rant onstage during a concert and said vile things about both Obama and Clinton, using expletives to refer to both.
Five years later, Nugent made an impassioned plea for support for then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during a National Rifle Association Conference in St. Louis. At that time, Obama was running for reelection.
“We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November,” he said of the Obama administration in April 2012. He added: “If Barack Obama becomes the next president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”
Nugent said he was simply trying to excite voters. But the Secret Service nevertheless asked to talk to him so he could explain his comments. A Secret Service spokesman confirmed the investigation at that time but declined to give details.
You will not be surprised to learn that Spicer ducked a reporter's question about Ted Nugent by claiming not to know what he said.
— Eric Geller (@ericgeller) May 31, 2017
Two years later, during a hunting and outdoor trade show in Las Vegas in 2014, he called Obama a “communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel” and a “gangster” who weaseled his way into the presidency.
Nugent apologized for using the term “subhuman mongrel” during an interview with conservative radio host Ben Ferguson a month later. Ferguson then asked whether Nugent was directly apologizing to Obama, to which he replied, “Yes.”
But the controversial remarks didn't stop there.
In a lengthy Facebook post last year, Nugent said Obama and Clinton should be tried for treason and hanged over their handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Despite his history of making inflammatory statements, Nugent, along with former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and musician Kid Rock, became Trump's dinner guests at the White House in April. Trump had invited Palin, who brought Nugent and Kid Rock with her. Nugent posted a picture of him shaking Trump's hand as the president sat at his desk during the visit.
Natalie Jennings contributed to this report.