'It was such a nice thing': Khloe Kardashian defends Kim Kardashian's birthday trip

Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY
·7 min read

Amid backlash over Kim Kardashian West's 40th birthday party, her sister Khloe Kardashian is defending her big sister.

During an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres' talk show Thursday, Khloe Kardashian said though she hasn't heard much about the criticism and doesn't know the extent of it, she understands why people why would be upset

Kardashian West attempted Tuesday to get ahead of backlash over photos from her 40th birthday party by acknowledging her privilege, but that didn't stop negative feedback from fans who felt that sharing photos from a private island trip with friends during a pandemic was in bad taste.

"This year is a frustrating year, I get it. I think there's so many frustrations going on for everybody," Kardashian said. "But also it's her 40th and this is something that she wanted to do for us, it was such a nice thing."

The TV personality went on to share how appreciative people on the island were for their visit and said they all felt safe.

"So many people said that we were their first party of guests that they've had in months and what it's done for them to be able to pay their bills or to do stuff for their family, just hearing those messages when we were there, we felt really good and we felt so safe," Khloe Kardashian said adding that she wants her sister to focus on how beautiful her birthday was. "We did it in the safest way I could imagine someone doing it."

Kardashian also opened up about battling COVID-19 in March, noting that it was "so incredibly scary" and the hardest things was having to quarantine away from her daughter for 16 days.

"It's still scary, but especially then when the whole world was shutting down and I mean we didn't really have any information or the information we had just changed every single day," Kardashian told DeGeneres. "So it was super, super scary."

Kardashian said she remembers feeling really sick and thinking there's "no way I could have COVID." She continued wearing masks and gloves and being diligent, but when she and her family got tested for the coronavirus, her results came back positive.

"We were really alarmed, but everyone else tested negative thank goodness," she said.

Kardashian had an early case of COVID-19, a new teaser for "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" revealed Wednesday.

"I just found out that I do have corona," Kardashian said in a phone video in the teaser. "I have been in my room. It's going to be fine, but it was really bad for a couple of days... That (expletive) is real."

The reality TV star, 36, said she experienced vomiting, shaking, temperature fluctuations, "the craziest headache" and a major cough. The teaser did not specify when she was diagnosed.

Kardashian West, who turned 40 on Oct. 21, shared a series of photos of her celebrating with family and friends on a beach, sans masks or social distancing. She clarified in her caption that they all quarantined and were screened "multiple" times before traveling.

"After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time," Kardashian West captioned social media posts of the celebration, adding that she realized "that for most people, this is something that is so far out of reach right now, so in moments like these, I am humbly reminded of how privileged my life is."

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Photos from the trip featured siblings Kourtney, Khloe and Rob Kardashian and Kendall Jenner, plus mom Kris Jenner, Kourtney's ex Scott Disick and multiple unidentified friends. Notably absent from photos: the birthday girl's husband, Kanye West, half-sister Kylie Jenner, and Caitlyn Jenner.

The group "danced, rode bikes, swam near whales, kayaked, watched a movie on the beach and so much more," Kardashian West shared.

"40 and feeling so humbled and blessed. There is not a single day that I take for granted, especially during these times when we are all reminded of the things that truly matter," she added. "For my birthday this year, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend it than with some of the people who have helped shaped me into the woman I am today. Before COVID, I don’t think any of us truly appreciated what a simple luxury it was to be able to travel and be together with family and friends in a safe environment."

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The backlash didn't end there: Many users on Twitter and Instagram were unhappy with Kardashian West's choice to share photos given that the ongoing coronavirus threat is keeping others indoors and unable to see their loved ones in person and has left many struggling financially.

"Happy birthday. I hope someone got you an alphabet book as a gift, so you can learn to read the room," wrote Twitter user @kelechnekoff.

"I can't even hug my mom, but glad you got to go to your private island and do whatever you wanted," added @itsameantonia.

"You could have done this & just kept quiet about it & no one would know, or be talking about how out of touch & ridiculous you are," wrote @Marteliz21. "To post photos about this, in this moment, when so many are struggling, sick & literally dying, is so mean spirited & clueless, it's astonishing."

Some used a famous "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" line against her: In a 2011 episode, Kardashian began crying after losing an expensive earring in the ocean. "Kim, there's people that are dying," Kourtney deadpanned.

More than 8.7 million Americans have contracted the novel coronavirus and more than 226,000 have died as of Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins data.

But some fans defended her, noting the safety precautions reduced the risk of transmission and that by traveling and celebrating, the group (many of which are millionaires) were stimulating industries struggling because of quarantine restrictions.

"The jealousy of everyone in these comments, acting as if they wouldn’t jump at the chance to do something like this," tweeted @JakeeKnox2. "I’m happy for you Kim"

"i’m not the biggest fan of kim but if i had as much money as she did i would 100% be spending it on stuff like that," added @kuromiluvsmelo.

Others made jokes, recreating Kardashian West's tweet about inviting "my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island" after multiple rounds of health screenings using scenes and images from pop culture.

Kardashian West attempted to change the narrative Wednesday to a more pressing issue: the November election.

"Now that I have your attention...this a reminder to VOTE. 6 days," she tweeted Wednesday, alongside several pictures of her vacationing at the private island.

But the polarizing star soon faced further scrutiny for failing to denounce her husband's improbable run as an independent presidential candidate, which may split votes from more viable candidates.

"Your husband is stealing votes from the actual candidates in some important states," tweeted @LoJANS. "And I love him as a rapper too but some people don't know the difference."

According to Buzzfeed News, West, who once backed Trump, is only on the ballot in 11 states, making it mathematically impossible for him to earn enough votes to become the next president of the United States.

"You should say publicly not to vote for Kanye," user @astrologybyj replied, while @allisonmcgs added: "Just don’t waste a vote on Kanye. Please."

Even actress Jennifer Anniston warned her followers recently, saying "it’s not funny to vote for Kanye." Aniston added: "I don’t know how else to say it. Please be responsible."

Contributing: Cydney Henderson, Charles Trepany

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kim Kardashian birthday getaway: Khloe Kardashian defends, talks COVID