Melania Trump has spoken out about the photos and video of comedian Kathy Griffin holding what looks like the decapitated head of her husband.
"As a mother, a wife, and a human being, that photo is very disturbing," the first lady said in a statement issued by her press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, in response to a reporter's question late Wednesday morning. "When you consider some of the atrocities happening in the world today, a photo opportunity like this is simply wrong and makes you wonder about the mental health of the person who did it."
Her response was decidedly more subdued than that of President Trump, who tweeted earlier Wednesday: "Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11-year-old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!"
Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
On Tuesday, Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, called Griffin's photo "disgusting" in a tweet. On Wednesday, in a flurry of tweets, he called her subsequent apology "phony."
The #kathygriffin phony apology would be a lot easier to believe if there wasn't a video of her mocking the response she knew was coming.— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 31, 2017
For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) May 31, 2017
"I sincerely apologize," Griffin said in a video posted to Twitter Tuesday night. "I’m just now seeing the reaction of these images. I’m a comic, I crossed the line. I move the line then I cross it. I went way too far," she said. "The image is too disturbing, I understand how it offends people. It wasn't funny. I get it."
In a now-deleted YouTube video, Griffin is shown holding up a fake Donald Trump "head" by the hair that is streaked with what appears to be blood. At one point, she drops it. At another point, she jokes to Shields that they're going to have to run away to Mexico after the images go public.
"I won't give away what we're doing but Tyler and I are not afraid to do images that make noise," she says in the video clip, in which she praises Shields for making her look like she's 15. (She's 56.) "But first, I'm an artist. But it's good lighting."
I am sorry. I went too far. I was wrong. pic.twitter.com/LBKvqf9xFB— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) May 30, 2017
Critics from the left and right pounced on the image, including Chelsea Clinton and Donald Trump Jr., calling it "disgusting," "vile" and "wrong."
Representatives for Griffin have not returned emails from USA TODAY seeking comment.
Contributing: Jayme Deerwester, Maria Puente