Kathy Griffin breaks down into tears: Trump "broke me"

Last Updated Jun 2, 2017 2:15 PM EDT

The blowback was swift on Twitter after embattled celebrity Kathy Griffin, who apologized for a video that depicted her holding a likeness of President Trump's severed, bloody head, broke down in tears on Friday and said of Mr. Trump: "He broke me." 

TV personality Meghan McCain tweeted, "Nobody feels bad for you Kathy Griffin. And nobody forced you to hold up a bloody decaptitated head of our president Isis style," while others slammed Griffin for allegedly not taking responsibility for her actions.

The criticism poured in after the comedian held a press conference with her lawyers to speak out against the president and his family, calling them bullies after the controversial photo went viral.  

Griffin said that she is receiving death threats and losing jobs because Mr. Trump is targeting her. 

"I don't think I will have a career after this," she said as she broke down into tears. "I'm going to be honest. He broke me. He broke me. He broke me. And then I was like, this isn't right. And I apologized because that was the right thing to do and I meant it and then I saw the tide turning ... and it was a mob pile-on." 

She choked up and said, "I don't want to get arrested today. I don't know." 

Griffin and her lawyer, Lisa Bloom, pointed out that she is still sorry about the image.  

"That apology absolutely stands," said Griffin. "I feel horrible. I have performed in war zones. The idea that this made people think of that tragedy is horrible ... If I could redo the whole thing I'd have a blowup doll and no ketchup." 

However, Griffin claimed that now, because of a mistake she made, Mr. Trump and his team have a sexist vendetta against her. 

"I'm not afraid of Donald Trump," she said. "He's a bully. I've dealt with older white guys trying to keep me down my whole life, my whole career." 

She added, "The sitting president of the United States and his grown children and the first lady are personally trying to ruin my life forever. Forever. You guys know him -- he's never gonna stop." 

Griffin said that she participated in the photo shoot because she wanted to make an "absurdist artsy statement" that was "over the top" to symbolize what she sees as America's demise under Mr. Trump. 

The resulting blowback cost her a gig co-hosting CNN's New Year's Eve coverage with Anderson Cooper, a job she has held for 10 years, as well as several stand-up comedy appearances. 

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump said of the photo, "Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!" 

First Lady Melania Trump also released a statement questioning Griffin's "mental health."

"As a mother, a wife, and a human being, that photo is very disturbing. 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 statement read.

But it wasn't just Mr. Trump and his supporters who condemned Griffin's actions. Many others expressed their disgust over the photo shoot.

Griffin's CNN co-host, Cooper, who she said she has not spoken to since the incident, said, "For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate."

Chelsea Clinton wrote on Twitter, "This is vile and wrong. It is never funny to joke about killing a president."

Mitt Romney tweeted, "Our politics have become too base, too low, & too vulgar, but Kathy Griffin's post descends into an even more repugnant & vile territory."

On Friday, Griffin said of the backlash, "This wouldn't be happening to a guy. This is a woman thing." 

The comedian also claimed that Mr. Trump is using her as a distraction from the FBI investigation into his ties with Russia. 

"It's quite clear they're trying to use me as a distraction and I'm not going to be collateral damage for this fool," she said. "I'm the easiest target. I'm D-list comedian Kathy Griffin." 

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    Andrea is an entertainment producer at CBSNews.com