Drawing Trump In Shorts
During the 2016 Primaries, editorial cartoonists furiously produced drawings, myself included. I was angry. I pushed myself.
After a few drawings, I began to draw Donald Trump in shorts. Simply because he acts like a schoolyard bully.
That may not sound like a lot to you, but I am a pretty quiet person, and was raised to be nice to everyone, if I could. I am conflict averse as well. Reconciling my embedded character traits with wanting to draw political cartoons has never been easy. But I did it. I put Trump in little boy pants. My audience loved the symbolism.
Then he was elected President.
Call it hope, call it fear, but I put Trump back in big boy pants. To be honest, I never felt fully at ease ridiculing him, simply because he is, in fact, a person; I would rather go after politics and ideas than people. The office of the President is a position that deserves some respect was my sentiment. I recall reading that when Nixon became President, Washington Post cartoonist Heblock, who usually drew Nixon with a five o’clock shadow, removed the sinister stubble when Nixon was elected President. Herblock did not bring the stubble back during Watergate, rather he skewered Nixon directly. Herblock’s cartoons of the Watergate era helped bring Nixon down, I truly believe that.
An long-time admirer of Herblock, I took away Trump’s short pants before he set foot in the White House. I also felt I needed to give the man a chance, call me crazy. A New Yorker most of my life, I was around when Trump was a Democrat and pro-choice. This gave me some hope that the primaries and election were theater only, although horrid theater at that. Trump was abhorrent to me as a person in 2017 as he is now, but I let myself dream he would turn into an okay president. Boy was I wrong.
Donald remained in big-boy pants for three years in my drawings of him. Then in April 2020, I couldn’t take it anymore. The lying, deception, racism, sexism, xenophbia, immigrant child abuse — not to mention causing the death of thousands from covid — was terrifying. This person in the Oval Office forced my drawing hand with his behavior. I put him back in shorts and went after him. The shorts were initially created because Trump was a bully; now he is more than a bully, he is a madman. In the early stages of this election cycle, witnessing his tricks (worse than Tricky Dick’s by a thousand miles), I had become fearful for our democracy. Trump is not Nixon; Nixon was a gentleman compared to Trump.
Other editorial cartoonists are more aggressive in attacking Donald Trump, I admire them. But I do what I can as a quiet person. Drawing him in shorts is like whispering — maybe people will lean in and see how furious and scared I am. And I know I’m not alone. I want this madman gone from the People’s House, I want him in jail. He is a danger to our country and to the world. If drawing Trump in shorts is my part, so be it.
Glad to contribute a little ink to saving our Democracy. I am hoping I never have to draw the man again.