Sunday, September 19, 2021

in-focus

How cartoonists are portraying the divide between Trump and Fauci


Bruce Plante is a left-leaning moderate in "the reddest of the red states," he says, so he's none too surprised that his latest commentary on the White House's coronavirus response is stirring up Trump supporters in Oklahoma.

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The Sacramento Bee

Plante is the political cartoonist for the Tulsa World. Since President Donald Trump held a controversial rally June 20 in Tulsa, the Tulsa County commissioner has tested positive for the coronavirus, as has Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt. Tulsa city councilors approved a face mask ordinance Wednesday after state health officials reported a record number of coronavirus cases last week.

Early this week, Plante was reading articles about the Trump administration's chastising of Anthony S. Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, and "wondering why on Earth some folks believe a politician more than a highly respected physician."

"I know if Donald Trump stood at the foot of my hospital bed, I would much prefer the medical advice of Dr. Fauci over any politician who calls himself a 'stable genius,' " Plante said. (A recent New York Times/Siena College poll found that most voters agreed, as 67 percent said they trusted Fauci for information on the coronavirus, compared with 26 percent for Trump.)

So the cartoonist decided to depict Trump as a would-be doctor trying to offer reassurance while holding an upside-down covid-19 chart, as we "hear" the high flat sound of a patient flatlining.

The cartoon, published Wednesday, drew more than 200 comments on the World's Facebook page. Some readers wrote pleas to heed Fauci's advice, while others threatened to cancel their subscriptions over the World's "liberal slant" and called it "biased media" and a "New York Times wannabe."

"I can always count on the usual gang of Trump [supporters] to 'liven up' the conversation," Plante said.

Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Mike Luckovich also satirized Trump's recent criticism of Fauci that mushroomed this week into a larger controversy for the White House, which by Wednesday was distancing itself from the "anti-Fauci effort." Where Luckovich lives, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has just voided mask mandates in more than a dozen cities or counties as cases there surge.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution cartoonist drew Trump wanting to flatten the curve of rising American trust in Fauci.

"I want to remind readers how incompetent, under Trump, our response has been," the left-leaning Luckovich said. "This cartoon does that and shows that in this whole mess, the one person Americans trust is Dr. Fauci."

"Trump trying to smear Fauci -- instead of focusing on the virus -- makes me feel pessimistic that we won't get past this until Trump's gone," he said.

Other cartoonists, such as Clay Bennett from the Chattanooga Times Free Press and the Sacramento Bee's Jack Ohman, are lampooning how Trump and Fauci seem to be delivering different messages.

Published : July 18, 2020

By : The Washington Post · Michael Cavna · NATIONAL, ENTERTAINMENT, POLITICS