President Barack Obama sent the family of Joan Rivers a handwritten condolence letter after the beloved comedian died earlier this month, Rivers’ daughter Melissa revealed Thursday in an interview on E.
“Not only did she make us laugh,” Obama wrote of the celebrity comedian, “she made us think.”
Joan Rivers passed away on Sept. 4 during a medical procedure at a clinic in New York. The doctor who operated on Rivers allegedly performed a biopsy on the 81-year-old’s vocal chords without her consent -- and not before snapping a selfie while she was under anesthesia. He has since stepped down from his position as the New York State Health Department continues to investigate Rivers’ cause of death.
Melissa Rivers says she was particularly touched to receive a note from Obama, considering that he and the first lady were “often a target of her jokes.”
This was the case in July, when Rivers made a joke calling Obama gay and his wife Michelle transgender that some believed went too far, even for the aging comic who was famous for racy remarks. Later, Rivers defended herself, saying her comment on the first lady was intended as a compliment.
“She’s so attractive, tall, with a beautiful body, great face, does great makeup,” Rivers said. “If you think that’s silly, wait till you see what I say about FDR and Eleanor!”
Obama was hardly the only politician Joan Rivers disparaged over her long career.
The comedian raised eyebrows when she likened former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) to a “retarded person,” and again during the 2012 presidential race with her wholesale dismissal of the political process. Rivers went on to scold both candidates, saying that at “$40,000 a plate, you’re not Democrats. You’re not Democrats. You’re very strong Republicans. I find the whole thing disgusting.”
With midterm elections around the corner, Joan Rivers has certainly given politicians something to think about.