He Said He Didn’t Do It


While still in Vietnam, Donald Trump said Kim Jong Un told him he felt bad about the death of Otto Warmbier, the American college student the North Koreans imprisoned in good health and returned to the U.S. in a coma. Kim also told Trump he wasn’t aware of the Warmbier situation until after he was returned home. Trump said he believed him. He said North Korea is a big country and Kim couldn’t be aware of everything.

The North Koreans used Warmbier for propaganda. They aired videos of him crying and asking to go home. North Korea has one TV station. Their media is government operated and is not a free press. When Otto Warmbier was used as propaganda, how could Kim Jong Un not only be aware of it but also not be the one approving the tactic?

For Donald Trump, if a friend claims innocence, or says “he didn’t do it,” then we need to believe them. He made that claim for Robert Kraft, Roy Moore, Brett Kavanaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, and himself. He doesn’t do it only for those conservatives accused of sexual abuse. He does it for dictators. He said he believed Vladimir Putin’s denial over that of American intelligence that he meddled in the 2016 presidential election. He said he believed Muhammad Bin Salman’s denial of being involved in the murder of a Washington Post journalist that happened INSIDE their embassy in Turkey. Now, he says he believes Kim Jong Un.

Take note, that Trump also claimed he wasn’t aware of paying off porn stars, which has now become public that he was aware. When someone gives an unbelievable denial, Donald Trump should be an expert at recognizing lies in denials.

Also, during the summit in Hanoi, the Trump administration attempted to remove the press from an event, and not at the request of the North Koreans. We’re supposed to school them on freedom and democracy, not have them school us on propaganda.

It’s not just sickening that Trump, an American president, does this, but that so many Americans support his behavior. Do you?

Nerdy details and a bunch of roughs: After I drew a cartoon for CNN last week, I was hoping for the chance to do it again. I didn’t know it’d come the very next week. This time, I was contacted by the regular editor in charge of their Sunday opinion newsletter, Provoke & Persuade (before the first paragraph in the story, there’s a link to sign up for their weekly email. Do it). I got a little bit more than 24 hours this time too. We talked on the phone Wednesday evening and on Thursday, I sent her eight ideas. Yeah, eight.

As I do with every editor the first time I work with them on an assignment, I explain that my roughs are very rough. My editor, Pat said she liked all of them, but unlike Trump…I’m not entirely sure I can believe her. Maybe she was just being nice. I didn’t like all of them.

After I delivered the cartoon Friday afternoon, she asked me to remove one little detail before she ran it by their standards and practices department. I joked on Twitter that this was my first time to deal with a cable network’s standards and practices, but I have had to deal with it at newspapers. But with newspapers, it’s usually not a department and it’s just one editor who likes to say no a lot. In this case, after we removed the one detail, the department didn’t give us any trouble. Quite frankly, I was shocked in the first week that they didn’t ask me to draw Trump differently, like change his hair, ties, or lips.

Here are all the roughs and you can leave a comment on your favorite.


This wasn’t my favorite cartoon but I do think it was the best choice for CNN. The Otto Warmbier story was getting bigger at the time it was selected and has only grown since. When they selected this cartoon, they didn’t know I was going to throw in a lot of details for each individual. I also replaced Bill O’Reilly with Putin. There were a lot of candidates. I did tell Pat that I was replacing O’Reilly with Putin, as I felt most people have probably forgotten the O’Reilly thing by now.


I honestly thought they’d pick this one. Since they didn’t, I drew it for my syndication on Thursday night. You’ve already seen this finished cartoon. You may notice that as I draw many rough ideas, that the quality decreases with each cartoon. I get tired, OK?


I really liked this one but I didn’t expect them to take it. I didn’t think it was the way to go for the top issue of the week. I felt the summit would take precedence. I don’t know if I’ll draw an official cartoon of this idea as I’ve already covered the subject. I like the simplicity in the drawing.


I like this one a lot but I’m not sure it works. Maybe I like it because it’s a crowd scene. You know how I loves me some crowd scenes. If working for CNN becomes a regular thing, I need to work in one of my famous crowd scenes for them at some point.


I like this one while also not being that crazy about it. I felt it was too obvious but I wanted to give it a shot with CNN because maybe they’d prefer something kinda obvious. But, they didn’t. I was fine with not doing this cartoon. Also, it didn’t really address the Warmbier situation as well as the one they chose. I did a cartoon similar to this before the first Trump/Kim summit.


I didn’t like this one at all. Again, I was giving them something obvious, but I knew another cartoonist would draw this cartoon. I was right. I’ve seen it since I drew this rough. I’d say this was a lazy idea if I hadn’t drawn so many that day. The only excuse I have for this cliche is the change up of Kim asking for the shirt.


I liked this one. I almost did it for my clients on Thursday night. I like that it shows Trump is not the great negotiator he claims he is. I did something similar with Trump’s head on Pelosi’s wall after the shutdown negotiations, but I was fine with tweaking the idea for a different outlet.


I thought this was my last idea when I came up with it. I liked it when I thought of it and halfway through drawing it, I started to hate it. When Pat told me she liked all the ideas, I replied, “Even the Rodman one?” I’m so glad she didn’t pick this one. Why do I send editors ideas I don’t like? Scott Stantis (I think it was him), the cartoonist for The Chicago Tribune once told me he’d give an editor several pathetic, crappy, horrid ideas, and one really good one…to make him pick the good one. But, that tactic often burns the cartoonist as an editor is likely to choose one of the horrid, crappy ideas. I have been in the position before of trying to convince an editor that he doesn’t want to use something I thought up.


After Pat chose her cartoon, I thought of this one. I didn’t intend to show it to her since she had made her choice. But, we were still emailing and I told her, “I actually came up with one more and it’s on the Mark Meadows race thing.” She asked to see it. I think she went from “oooh, I wanna see it” to “ew.” But at the end of the day, it was my very favorite. I waited another day to draw it as I wanted to tackle the summit first for my clients, but on Friday night I drew this one.

So that’s inside of the head of this cartoonist for one day. Now you may need a shower. Thank you for tolerating and patronizing my weirdness.

Be Complicit

What kind of person would want to be part of something that disparages, slanders, and disrespects Dear Leader and his sycophantic followers? Hopefully, you. 
Making a contribution supports my work and keeps the cartoons, columns, and videos coming. My income is from newspapers that subscribe to my work and small contributors. George Soros hasn’t sent me a million dollar check in weeks. Making a contribution of any amount, or buying a print for $40.00, makes you part of this specific resistance, and a member of Team Claytoonz (we’re still working on the name). You are complicit, an accomplice, and in cahoots (and whatever gangster terms we can think of) with this political satire pointing out that the stupid emperor has no clothes. Contributions can be made through PayPal, checks, and wads of cash exchanged in back alleys.
Whether you can help support, can’t, or just choose not to, please continue to enjoy and keep reading my work. Thank you!!! 

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