Jim Gaffigan’s viral Twitter thread against President Trump last week was an eye-opener for him, too.
The comedian generally perceived as apolitical and family-friendly shocked many fans when he went on a tear against Trump during the incumbent president’s acceptance speech on the final night of the Republican National Convention.
The responses ranged from those cheering on the normally clean-cut, Catholic comic for standing up for his political beliefs to former fans and Trump supporters swearing off of the standup comic’s act forever.
Gaffigan responded in a lengthy Facebook
post entitled “What I’ve Learned Since I Lost My Mind” on Sunday night, which he also shared on his official Twitter
and Instagram accounts. And he explained what set him off, as well as what the responses taught him about the state of American politics today.
First things first: he says he was not drunk, and that he didn’t really think most people would let an actor/comedian sway their vote, “despite the fact that the current President is essentially both an actor and a comedian.” But he was hoping to “change some minds,” he admitted — particularly the minds of the people he believes are “frightened enough by Trump and the GOP lies, they would pinch their nose and vote for Trump” despite not really believing in him.
“Why speak out like I did? Honestly, I feel I had no choice at this point. I think Trump is ruining and possibly has already ruined my country.”
And the responses proved to him that “Republican talking points work,” and Trump is a great salesman, “possibly the best salesman I’ve seen in my lifetime.” Many of the comments he received underlined just how devoted Trump’s supporters are to their president. “It doesn’t matter that Trump and his folks are breaking laws, trying to kill Obamacare, pre-existing conditions or that his handling of the pandemic was disastrous,” Gaffigan continued, “to Trump voters he is THEIR guy. More importantly he’s ‘THEIR president’ and disagreeing with them is a personal insult.”
And so, some of the fallout has been furious. Gaffigan shared a screenshot of one reader under the name Stephen Craig responding to the comic’s anti-Trump Twitter thread with a not-so-veiled threat: “You’ll be looking over your shoulder the rest of your life,” Craig wrote. “Enjoy.”
Gaffigan revealed this is just “one of the many messages I received that are quasi threatening or flat out threatening.” And he used it to argue that the president “is not a unifier,” but that he and his followers “stoke hatred and violence,” instead.
“I’m not saying that both Kenosha shootings wouldn’t have happened with a different President,” Gaffigan wrote. “I’m just saying there would have been leadership to solve the issue rather than capitalize on it.”
But threats and responses from “tons” of bots aside, Gaffigan said the experience was a “liberating” one. “It was refreshing to let four years of frustration boil over and offer some straight talk on what Trump has done to our country or our democracy,” he wrote.
Gaffigan’s original Facebook post has drawn more than 24,000 comments, and had been shared more than 21,000 times as of Tuesday morning.
Check out his full remarks here: