Joep Bertrams / the Netherlands / CagleCartoons.com 2019 (by Joep Bertrams / the Netherlands / CagleCartoons.com 2019/by Joep Bertrams / the Netherlands / CagleCartoons.com 2019)
Writer/critic

Amid the shutdown showdown over border security, just what kind of barrier is at stake seems to be in flux.

Early this week, President Trump let it be known that the designs for his U.S.-Mexico border wall had changed, tweeting: “We are now planning a Steel Barrier rather than concrete. It is both stronger & less obtrusive.”

Whether you think a border barrier is best made of concrete or bricks, steel slats or Legos, the wall has become an all-purpose metaphor for the state of the nation and its leadership.

So just how are editorial cartoonists putting the wall to work as a loaded image?

Joep Bertrams of the Netherlands, for one, paints Trump as a victim of his own policy.


Nate Beeler / Columbus Dispatch / CagleCartoons.com 2019 (by Nate Beeler / Columbus Dispatch / CagleCartoons.com 2019/by Nate Beeler / Columbus Dispatch / CagleCartoons.com 2019)

by Nate Beeler / Columbus Dispatch / CagleCartoons.com 2019 (by Nate Beeler / Columbus Dispatch / CagleCartoons.com 2019/by Nate Beeler / Columbus Dispatch / CagleCartoons.com 2019)

Nate Beeler of the Columbus Dispatch, has rendered the wall as a symbol of deep partisanship; as the brick blockade of a shuttered government; and a tall, steel structure whose slats, in his view, are as flexible as Trump’s depiction of the facts.


Christo Komarnitski / Bulgaria / CagleCartoons.com 2019 (by Christo Komarnitski / Bulgaria / CagleCartoons.com 2019 /by Christo Komarnitski / Bulgaria / CagleCartoons.com 2019)

Bulgaria’s Christo Komarnitski of Cagle Cartoons, by contrast, depicts the wall as a long swath of Trump’s broadcast image — a barricade of finger-wagging rhetoric.


Nick Anderson / WPWG 2019 (by Nick Anderson / WPWG 2019 /by Nick Anderson / WPWG 2019)

John Cole / Scranton Times Tribune / CagleCartoons.com 2019 (by John Cole / Scranton Times Tribune / CagleCartoons.com 2019/by John Cole / Scranton Times Tribune / CagleCartoons.com 2019)

Nick Anderson of Washington Post Writers Group and John Cole, of the Scranton Times Tribune, are among the cartoonists who envision a president walled in by his own political stance.


Hajo de Reijger / the Netherlands / CagleCartoons.com 2019 (by Hajo de Reijger / the Netherlands / CagleCartoons.com 2019/by Hajo de Reijger / the Netherlands / CagleCartoons.com 2019)

The Netherlands' Hajo de Reijger sees a brick wall as Trump’s mighty pose — even as he leans against a much flimsier fence.


R.J. Matson / CagleCartoons.com 2019 (by R.J. Matson / CagleCartoons.com 2019/by R.J. Matson / CagleCartoons.com 2019)

R.J. Matson, of CQ Roll Call and Cagle Cartoons, depicts Trump’s barrier battle as a fallen monument to political failure.


Signe Wilkinson / Philly.com / WPWG 2019 (by Signe Wilkinson / Philly.com / WPWG 2019/by Signe Wilkinson / Philly.com / WPWG 2019)

Signe Wilkinson of Philly.com has the growing wall being composed of Trump’s Democratic opponents.


Jack Ohman / Sacramento Bee / WPWG 2019 (by Jack Ohman / Sacramento Bee / WPWG 2019/by Jack Ohman / Sacramento Bee / WPWG 2019)

Jack Ohman of the Sacramento Bee constructs a three-panel joke, built on the political progression.


Tom Toles / The Washington Post 2019 (by Tom Toles / The Washington Post 2019/by Tom Toles / The Washington Post 2019)

And The Washington Post’s Tom Toles is among those artists who has pictured Trump at play, growing petulant in his position.