Fear Woodward


In 1991, I met editorial cartoonist Draper Hill at my first cartoonist convention, and he drew me a doodle of Richard Nixon. Next to that drawing, he wrote something like, “too bad you won’t ever have the likes of me to cover.” So, basically, this is all Draper’s fault. He jinxed us with that drawing.

Draper, who passed away in 2009, loved drawing Nixon. I saw him draw for a few other people over the years and I think each drawing was Nixon. He couldn’t get over Nixon. Will I be like Draper in the future, continuing to draw Donald Trump? Will I get over Trump? It didn’t occur to me to ask Draper if he ever got tired of drawing Nixon, because I’m really tired of drawing Trump.

Draper was wrong except my son of a bitch to cover may actually be worse than Nixon. On the day The Washington Post published excerpts of Bob Woodward’s new book, we overlooked the fact that Trump is screaming at his Justice Department for indicting two Republicans close to an election. Any day now, Trump is going to tweet, “I am corrupt. Suck it, America!”

Bob Woodward is famous for covering Watergate for The Washington Post, reporting that brought down the Nixon administration. He used anonymous sources back then too, most famously, Deep Throat. Now, Trump and his sycophants are basically accusing Woodward of creating quotes, as though it’s something he’s been getting away with for five decades.

Like other books about Trump, this one paints a White House in constant chaos. Unlike other books covering Trump, this author has impeccable credibility. You could ask Nixon about that if he wasn’t dead. Reading the excerpts of “Fear,” the title of the book, it sounds less like a functioning branch of the government and more like a script for the entire season of The Simpsons, back in season seven when it was funny. It describes a White House having a nervous breakdown.

There are details of aides removing papers from Trump’s desk, so he couldn’t sign them. There’s a part in the book of his ordering a hit on the leader of Syria (which is another example of his directing someone else to break the law). He questions why we have troops in South Korea.

After the meeting about South Korea, Defense Secretary James Mattis reportedly told associates that Trump had the understanding of a fifth or sixth grader. Mattis now says he never said such a thing, or would he ever about the president. But, he probably owes an apology to fifth and sixth graders.

Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly told colleagues that Trump is an “idiot,” and “We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.” Donald Trump now has the most denials of any president that his staff has called him names like “idiot” or “fucking moron.” Also, Crazytown is less fun than Funkytown.

Trump called Attorney General Jeff Sessions a “traitor” for recusing himself from the investigation and said, “This guy is mentally retarded. He’s this dumb Southerner. . . . He couldn’t even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama.” Trump has denied this statement, but it’s hard not to believe if you follow Trump’s attacks on Sessions through his Twitter account. But, leave it to Trump to insult Southerners and the mentally ill in one fell swoop.

After saying there were good people and blame on “both sides” in the Charlottesville racist rally which killed one person, Trump was pressured to criticize white supremacists. Afterward, he said, “That was the biggest fucking mistake I’ve made” and the “worst speech I’ve ever given.” Let that sink in. For Trump, it was a mistake to criticize, even subtly, Nazis.

Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus described the staff with, “When you put a snake and a rat and a falcon and a rabbit and a shark and a seal in a zoo without walls, things start getting nasty and bloody.” This White House isn’t very good with metaphors. Ask former spokesgoon Sean Spicer who came up with, “a unicorn riding a unicorn over a rainbow” to describe Trump.

Perhaps most interesting are the details of Trump practicing with his attorneys to testify before Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Trump reportedly got upset and said, “This thing’s a goddamn hoax. I don’t really want to testify.”

Later, Trump’s personal attorney John Dowd, who resigned shortly after, told Mueller, “I’m not going to sit there and let him look like an idiot. And you publish that transcript, because everything leaks in Washington, and the guys overseas are going to say, ‘I told you he was an idiot. I told you he was a goddamn dumbbell. What are we dealing with this idiot for?'” Dowd basically told Mueller that Trump can’t testify without committing perjury.

Later, Dowd told Trump, “Don’t testify. It’s either that or an orange jumpsuit,” which is something lawyers don’t usually say to innocent clients. Trump said “I’ll be a real good witness,” to which Dowd replied, “You are not a good witness. I’m afraid I just can’t help you.” The next morning, Dowd resigned. He’s not a good president either.

There is a familiar pattern in every book about Donald Trump, and I don’t think you can say Bob Woodward’s equivalent as a reporter, chronicler of events, and historian is Omarosa. But it’s clear that nobody can walk out of that White House without wearing a horrified expression as if they’d seen a headless ghost chopping up babies and puppies. We have a president who needs babysitters who are very good at distracting.

Let’s hope they can keep distracting, can keep him on the golf course, and can keep sneaking papers off his desk, so we don’t end up declaring war on Narnia. I can think of one good distraction that can work out for the entire nation.

Let Trump testify and give that orange jumpsuit theory a ride.

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  1. Googled “Draper Hill Nixon” and here are a few things I found (Hill appeared to be influenced by Winslow Homer):




    BTW, Clay, just curious, have you ever used the Homer picture in any of your cartoons?
    I know you don’t want suggestions, but it seems like there are many ways, many ways, that this picture could be applied to 45* and Friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Need to vote the GOP out of their useless “majority” so that a Democratic Congress can put a check on crazy trump this Fall.
    To save this great nation from the small ugly minority of fascists in this country who are seriously trying to get trump to establish a government like the one his boyfriend putin has in russia.

    Liked by 2 people

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