New Yorker political cartoonist Barry Blitt has skewered the Trump administration in cover art for several issues of the venerable magazine over the past three years.
In his latest piece, “Thumbs-Up,” he portrays his caricature of President Donald Trump flat on his face at the bottom of an escalator meant to resemble the one he rode prior to announcing his candidacy in 2015.
Despite his condition, the prostrate cartoon gives the thumbs-up gesture referenced in its title.
Explaining his process in an interview about the cover art, Blitt said the elevator ride was one moment in the Trump timeline that he had been saving to rehash in a cartoon about current events.
“Half of this gig — drawing topical cartoons — is about saving some absurd or iconic moment and then bringing it up at an unexpected or odd time,” he said.
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) July 19, 2018
Referencing the controversial meeting and news conference between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week, Blitt said at least one visual element stood out as something he is likely to draw from in a future cartoon.
“You can expect that soccer ball that Putin gave Trump to appear in an image in a year or two, probably,” he said.
As with any political cartoon, Blitt’s latest installment earned mixed reviews. Among some Trump supporters, however, the perceived offense went deeper than mere partisanship.
Matt Drudge, who founded the conservative news aggregation site the Drudge Report, said Blitt was engaging in a leftist “fetish” to harm or assassinate the current president, as reported by Fox News.
“I hope nothing comes of this,” Drudge wrote in a tweet referencing the cartoon. “We have lost presidents to violence before and it is a horrible thing for every American.”
He wrote that the “Left’s continued fetish for Trump’s physical harm/death is stunning.”
Of course, Blitt mentioned no such desire in his commentary about “Thumbs-Up.”
The cartoonist mentioned a longstanding appreciation for physical humor, explaining that he features it prominently in his artwork.
“There’s something exhilarating and pure about them,” he said of such scenes in popular films and television series.
Blitt has drawn Trump in similarly unflattering or disruptive positions in previous cartoons, including a New Yorker cover shortly after the elevator ride.
“Belly Flop” showed Trump mid-dive into a pool as other Republican presidential candidates retreated for cover.
“Donald Trump has entered the fray of Republican Presidential candidates with all the grace of a bully doing cannonballs and belly flops at the local swimming pool,” he said of that cartoon at the time. “I’ll certainly be watching the first televised debate, just around the corner, on August 6th. Trump never fails to provide hours of slack-jawed amazement.”
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