On Friday’s episode of "Real Time with Bill Maher" on HBO, author Fran Lebowitz stated that although she would like to see President Trump impeached, she would also like to see him handed over to the Saudis:
MAHER: Where are you on impeachment?
LEBOWITZ: I change my mind from day to day. I mean, where am I on impeachment? Certainly, he deserves to be impeached. I mean, impeachment is just the beginning of what he deserves. Not even scratching the surface of what he deserves.
MAHER: But [it’s] a practical matter, [it’s] a practical matter.
LEBOWITZ: Whenever, you know, I think about this and what he really deserves, I think, "We should turn him over to the Saudis," you know? His buddies. The same Saudis who got rid of that reporter, you know? Maybe they can do the same for him.
Later in the episode, during a panel discussion in which Lebowitz participated, she backtracked on her "Saudi" remarks after the producers allegedly informed her that the show was getting hit on social media:
MAHER: But first, what happened? You said something and they’re mad at you? I know this feeling. The thing you said about the Saudis? "You were making a joke and it went too far. We’re sorry?" Is that where we’re at?
LEBOWITZ: [This] is what the producer said. He said we’re getting blowback on Twitter or something.
MAHER: Okay, well...
LEBOWITZ: I saw your face when I said it. I didn't even realize that I said it. I had twelve cups of coffee. I regret saying it.
MAHER: Okay, there you go. I mean, you know, it’s like, everyone's too, too, too, too. I mean, it's a live show. You don't really want to see the president dismembered by the Saudis.
LEBOWITZ: No, I don’t.
MAHER: I don't like Donald Trump either, but yes, we had Kathy Griffin on ... I said, "We should forgive Kathy Griffin, but I don’t endorse what she said either, or did." It was not the right thing, you know.
LEBOWITZ: Bad comparison.
MAHER: Right. Okay, but no matter who the president is, we don't want physical harm.
LEBOWITZ: I did not mean that, and I regret saying it, and I regret that everyone misinterpreted it because they misinterpret everything. Why should they stop with me?
[The above transcripts were cleaned up due to crosstalk.]
Maher’s mentioning of Kathy Griffin was in reference to an incident from 2017 in which the female comedian posed for a photo while holding a fake severed head made to look like President Trump.
Backlash was swift following the release of the photo, and Griffin was fired from her New Year’s Eve hosting gig on CNN. The day before the network announced its decision, Griffin issued an apology on Instagram, stating in part: "I beg for your forgiveness. I went too far. I made a mistake, and I was wrong."
Approximately one year later during an appearance on ABC’s "The View," Griffin retracted her apology, stating: "By the way, I take the apology back. F*** him!"