Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff’s campaign pushed back Thursday on a new ad from a Republican super PAC that stretched to tie Ossoff to Kathy Griffin, who kicked off a firestorm this week when she was photographed holding a bloody likeness of Donald Trump’s head.
“Jon Ossoff believes what Kathy Griffin did was despicable and for Karen Handel’s superPAC [sic] to say otherwise is a disgrace. Karen Handel should immediately demand this ad be pulled before any more children have to see these disturbing images on TV,” Ossoff campaign spokeswoman Sacha Haworth said in a statement.
The 30-second spot from the Congressional Leadership Fund, a conservative super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), began airing on Thursday as part of its $6.7 million campaign in the U.S. House race in Georgia. The ad begins with images of protesters lighting cars on fire and smashing windows before showing images from Griffin’s gory photoshoot, for which she has apologized.
“Liberal extremists have gone too far,” the narrator says in the ad. “Now a celebrity Jon Ossoff supporter is making jokes about beheading the president of the United States.”
“It’s not funny. these angry liberals will go to any extremes to elect Jon Ossoff,” the narrator continues.
As the Washington Post noted, Griffin has not been involved in the special election to fill an open U.S. House seat in Georgia and she has not donated to the Ossoff campaign. She has tweeted support for Ossoff, the Democrat facing off against Republican Karen Handel in the June 20 runoff election.
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) March 27, 2017
Corry Bliss, the Congressional Leadership Fund’s executive director, told the Washington Post that the group ran the ad because Ossoff had not explicitly denounced Griffin’s photos.
“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,” Bliss told the Post. “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.”
The Ossoff campaign, however, told the Washington Post that the candidate had not been asked about Griffin’s photoshoot.