The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Cartoons are skewering Trump’s golfing against the backdrop of covid-19 deaths

Michael de Adder's May 11 cartoon depicts Trump golfing as covid-19 patients die. (Michael de Adder/Halifax Herald 2020)
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Over the Memorial Day weekend, dozens of cartoonists decided to share variations of the same mash-up idea: Depict President Trump hitting the golf course while the death toll from covid-19 neared 100,000 Americans.

On Saturday, the Twitter account @JustVent6 took a two-week-old cartoon by Canadian artist Michael de Adder — in which Trump tees off atop a rug, under which bodies have been swept — and superimposed it onto a New York Times front page. The page, published in print Sunday, spotlights covid-19 victims beneath the headline: “U.S. deaths near 100,000, an incalculable loss.”

“Historically I’m not okay with my work being used in a mash-up, and most cartoonists are not okay with it, either,” de Adder tells The Washington Post on Tuesday.

But, he says, “there was no denying it worked as an image, probably even better than the original cartoon. And further, it was clear that it was already popular on Twitter before I even noticed.” The mash-up has received more than 2,400 likes. (Trump is at the bottom — click on the tweet if you don’t see him.)

Because many people “seemed to love” the concept and “know that I'm the artist behind the image,” de Adder says he decided to allow the co-opting of his cartoon.

Meanwhile, just hours later, the American cartoonist Steve Brodner coincidentally issued a challenge on Twitter, writing: “Mass art protest idea: Everyone getting Times tomorrow, draw [Trump] playing golf on top and post. On paper, or digitally.”

“It was an idea I wanted to do myself but thought that it was so straight-ahead that everybody should take a swing at it,” Brodner tells The Post.

Among the first wave of cartoonists to answer Brodner’s call were recent Pulitzer Prize finalists Lalo Alcaraz and Rob Rogers.

Collectively, the cartoons make “a mass statement that can’t be ignored,” says Alcaraz, who repurposed his initial “Donald J. Trump 100K Golf Classic” cartoon to “join the larger movement.”

Rogers — who was fired by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2018 largely for his cartoons criticizing the president and his policies — says the concept of combining Trump’s golfing and the Times cover was brewing in his mind when he saw Brodner’s tweet. “I had to answer,” says Rogers, adding: “We had to make a statement.”

Other cartoonists who posted their versions on social media included Virginia-based freelance artist Clay Jones, National Cartoonists Society President Jason Chatfield and Georgetown University student cartoonist Alexandra Bowman.

“The real strength in this comes from the number of the great cartoonists participating,” Jones says. “We combined all our voices into one loud roar, and I hope the people who need to hear it most heard it.”

Here is how some other cartoonists are skewering Trump’s golf outings as the covid-19 death toll rises:

David Fitzsimmons (Arizona Daily Star):

Jack Ohman (Sacramento Bee):

Jeff Danziger (Rutland Herald):

Dario Castillejos (Cagle Cartoons):

Read more:

Michael de Adder: This Trump critic’s cartoon went viral. Within hours, he no longer had a contract.

The Trump cartoons that got Rob Rogers fired go on display near the White House

Jason Chatfield got covid-19. So he drew this public warning