Emenies List


Paul Conrad, perhaps the greatest political cartoonist in American history, was furious when he found out he wasn’t on Nixon’s infamous enemies list. It turned out he actually was when the second list was revealed. A second list? Nixon hated a lot of people. Conrad later said being included was his greatest distinction, and he won three Pulitzers. Can you imagine if Nixon had Twitter?

Trump, who is not a student of history, gets off having an enemies list. He’s even made it public and had White House spokesgoon Sarah Huckabee Sanders read it from the podium. Like Nixon, this is probably just Trump’s first list.

This list targets people with security clearances who have criticized Trump. Wednesday, Trump surprised everyone by revoking the clearance of former director of the CIA, John Brennan. Brennan has been highly critical of Trump and Baby Twittler Cheeto face doesn’t like that.

Why do former officials have security clearances? It’s not for them, it’s for us. There may be situations where current officials need feedback from their predecessor. They will often have to update them on current events to get a fair judgement. These former officials are not receiving daily briefings. Trump has decided his ego is more important than national security.

Brennan is an analyst now for MSNBC, and the White House accuses him of using his clearance to get that job, as though he’s going to dish classified information on Rachel Maddow. They issued a statement from Trump about “the risks posed by his erratic conduct and behavior,” Brennan’s, not Trump’s. They also accused Brennan of having “leveraged his status as a former high-ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations, wild outbursts on the internet and television about this administration.” They didn’t specify any unfounded or outrageous allegations.

Of course, the current administration doesn’t know the difference between national security clearances and non-disclosure agreements, as though ISIS locations being targeted are as vital to national security as Trump’s hemorrhoids.

Later, to the Wall Street Journal, Trump stated that he pulled the clearance, and is thinking of pulling others because of the Russia investigation saying, it’s a “sham,” and “these people led it.” We know he doesn’t like to read, but could he at least read the official statement he supposedly wrote?

Other officials on the enemies list are former FBI Director James Comey (who was fired for the Russia investigation), James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence; former CIA Director Michael Hayden; former national security adviser Susan Rice; and Andrew McCabe, who served as Trump’s deputy FBI director until he was fired in March.

Also, on the list: fired FBI agent Peter Strzok, who was removed from the Russia investigation over anti-Trump text messages; former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom Strzok exchanged messages; and senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, whom Trump recently accused on Twitter of “helping disgraced Christopher Steele ‘find dirt on Trump.'”

Michael Flynn fired for lying to the FBI and who was in secret contact with Russians, and Jared Kushner, who sought a back channel of communications with the Kremlin so the CIA couldn’t monitor them, still have their clearances.

The statement to revoke Brennan’s clearance was dated July 26, which shows they were holding it as a distraction for when something big hit the White House. Enter Omarosa. Unfortunately for the White House, Omarosa has more secret tapes, the latest revealing the Trump train had tried to pay her $15,000 a month to remain silent. Trump is using national security clearances for political leverage. When asked why they didn’t revoke the clearance last week, the White House cited Trump’s busy schedule, which consisted of golf in New Jersey and Trump rallies.

Republicans in Congress were quite pleased with this and are supporting the president. Apparently, they believe any criticism of the president is a threat to national security. Louisiana Senator John Kennedy even called Brennan a “butthead.” Republicans are forgetting they won’t hold power forever. Can you imagine how many kittens would come shooting out of their manginas if Obama had done this?

In an extraordinary maneuver, twelve former CIA chiefs issued a joint statement critical of Trump’s revocation of security clearances and in defense of Brennan. They said the accusations from Trump are “baseless” and this is “an attempt to stifle free speech.”

Brennan wrote in The New York Times that this was a move to end the Russia investigation and Trump’s claim of no collusion by Trump was “hogwash.” He also wrote, “The only question remaining is whether the collusion amounts to a “constituted criminally liable conspiracy.” I’m going to say yes.

William H McRaven, the retired Navy admiral who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, called Trump’s moves “McCarthy-era tactics”, adding he would “consider it an honour” if Mr Trump revoked his clearance as well.

“Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation,” McRaven wrote in an opinion piece for The Washington Post.

Quite frankly I’m going to feel jilted if I never make Trump’s enemies list. For now, I’ll have to settle for his sycophants on social media calling me the “enemy of the American people.”

Trump, his sycophants, and those in Congress supporting his politicizing of security clearances are all buttheads.

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Tricky Woulda Thunk It


D’oh! The White House was shocked, dismayed, surprised, bewildered, caught off guard, gobsmacked at the backlash they received for firing FBI Director James Comey. They thought everyone would like Trump firing the man leading an investigation into his campaign coordinating with the Russians. Hey, at least the Russians like the firing.

Of course these are the same people who thought it would be a good idea to send Education Secretary Betsy Devos, who recently said the founders of historically black colleges were real pioneers of school choice, to a historically black college. What’s next? Sending Steve Bannon to speak at a synagogue?

A colleague of mine made a statement that there are a lot of Nixon cartoons being drawn over the Comey firing issue. He’s right and there’s all sorts of comparisons being made in the press to Nixon’s firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1974 to what’s famously phrased as the “Saturday Night Massacre.”

My third cartoon of 2017 was comparing Trump to Nixon and I believe I’ve successfully refrained since then until today from drawing him again. Using Nixon is an easy go-to metaphor just like using Hitler, Nazis, and Klansmen for racist-like behavior. But it’s really hard not to compare the Trump administration to Nazis when he’s retweeting, associating, and filling his cabinet with Nazis. It’s also hard not to when the KKK throws a parade in Trump’s honor, but I digress.

Every president since Nixon has been compared to Nixon at some point during their administrations. Trump is drawing the comparisons to the point that the Nixon Library doesn’t want their guy compared to Trump. Who can blame them? Nixon was an evil, deceitful, corrupt piece of crap, but comparing him to Trump is a bit too much for the Nixon Milhous Fanclub. At the very least Nixon didn’t express more loyalty to a hostile nation than to the United States or grab anyone’s vagina.

Trump may wish to be compared more to Old Hickory Andrew Jackson than to Nixon, but right now Old Dickory is closer to being compared to Tito Jackson than Andrew.

Trump’s reasoning for firing Comey is not believable. There are reports that he was looking for a reason to can the FBI director and the Deputy Attorney General gave him one in that Comey was to mean to Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump caring about Clinton’s well-being is about as believable as him caring about Rosie O’Donnell’s feelings, or Steve Bannon going kosher.

There is another report that Comey asked for more resources, from the man who eventually recommended his firing, to investigate the Russia case. He also reportedly told associates that Trump was “crazy” for claiming Obama wiretapped him and that he was “outside the realm of normal.” Why didn’t Comey make a move on Melania while he was at it? Or even worse, question Trump’s ratings and crowd sizes?

The Washington Post is reporting Trump was becoming frustrated that Comey wasn’t loyal to him and wasn’t doing enough to look into leaks of his administration’s connections to Putin. At the very least Comey should have been as loyal to Trump as Trump is to Putin, right? Why couldn’t Comey just shut up and eat the meatloaf?

Another detail that was chapping the prez’s spray-tanned hide was Comey not backing up Trump’s claim that Obama had him wiretapped. What really made him nauseous was Comey stating that the thought of his decisions affecting the election’s outcome made him nauseous. Trust me. We’re all nauseous. And I’m not talking about the kind of nauseous after being made aware of Trump’s vagina neck.

According to a person close to the White House, on Monday Trump told V.P. Pence, Bannon, Reince Priebus, Donald McGhan, and others that he wanted to move on Comey. He summoned Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is a loyal lapdog who promised to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation, and Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein to the White House with the directive to explain in writing the case against Comey.

The letter Trump wrote informing Comey of his firing was delivered by his longtime bodyguard, Keith Schiller (who reportedly, like Chris Christie, also sings “I Will Always Love You” to The Donald). Trump made sure to mention in the letter that Comey told him three times that he’s not under investigation into the Russia matter.

There are also reports that Trump has hired a new law firm, based in D.C., to defend him in questions about his business connections to Russia. I hear they’re really good with cases involving whiplash injuries.

The White House may deny these reports, which come from over 30 sources at the White House, Justice Department, FBI, and Capitol Hill. But they’re a hell of a lot more believable than the story of Trump caring about Hillary Clinton.

Conservatives have spent the past 48 hours pointing out the fact that Democrats didn’t like Comey and many wanted him fired. Every conservative political cartoonist has drawn the same cartoon with that argument. They fail to mention Trump’s hypocrisy of supporting Comey’s decisions to inform Congress and the public that he was reopening the investigation into Clinton and her email server. Funny how that works.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House Deputy Press Secretary, made the same argument conveniently forgetting that in the past she too went on cable news to praise Comey’s release of the letter. Keep in mind that Sean Spicer is her boss and her father is Mike Huckabee which would set anyone up for saying all sorts of bullshit.

Kellyanne Conway reappeared on the networks to make the same case and to nail her point home, reminded us that Trump won Michigan. What? That has to do with Russia like…oh never mind. Go do something else, Kellyanne, like talking to a microwave.

So, the Nixon comparisons are here. I really wish I could avoid them but it’s kinda hard to when the day after he fires Comey Trump invites Henry Kissinger to the White House. Who suggested that optic? Let me guess. Was it Kellyanne? Was it also her suggestion that Trump invite Russian ambassador and top spy Sergey Kislyak and Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov (who made jokes about Comey’s firing Wednesday morning) to the Oval Office and only allow Russian media into the room?

Trump probably didn’t want the American press in there as there aren’t any “corners” to hide in.

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It’s Tricky


Sometimes a cartoonist has to be careful that he may love the drawing so much that the idea isn’t actually very good. I had to ask myself that tonight as I love drawing Richard Nixon. I don’t get many opportunities because, you know, he’s dead.

My very first convention for political cartoonists took place in Memphis in 1992. I was just a puppy back then and one of the old dogs, Draper Hill, drew a little sketch of Nixon for me in a book and he wrote something about how it’s too bad I’d never get to cover the likes of him again. It had been thirty years and Draper still had not gotten over Richard Nixon. I wonder if 30 years from now, if I’m still around, I’ll be that old dog (OK, a very much older dog than I am now) who still hasn’t gotten over Donald Trump.

Nixon was such a huge disaster for this nation that every scandal is compared to him. Every crisis has the word “gate” tagged to it from Nixon’s scandal. It turns out the one scandal that everyone has to measure up to, Watergate, may not be Nixon’s most egregious crime against a Constitution and a nation he swore to uphold and protect. Richard Nixon committed treason. Dicky was Tricky.

Nixon attempted to halt the 1968 peace talks during the war in Vietnam. He did this as a candidate so he could further weaken his Democratic opponent. It sounds very similar to our current president-elect who’s asking us to stop questioning hacking by Russia, and if we can just move on.

I’ve had a lot of scandals to cover since I started my professional cartooning career in 1990. I had George W. Bush and Desert Storm. I had Clinton’s sex scandals and impeachment. I had Newt Gingrich’s Republican revolution. I had the Florida hanging chad crisis and the Supreme Court handing the presidency off to George W. Bush. I had 9/11, the second Iraq war and the other war in Afghanistan. I got Obama and his racist critics freaking out that we elected a black guy.

Now I have Donald Trump who I boldly predict will have the most corrupt administration in American history. The one fortunate thing in all this is that Trump has good timing as right now I think I’m getting pretty good at this cartoon stuff.

Herblock, Paul Conrad, and Patrick Oliphant are my cartooning heroes. They had Richard Nixon who was a direct threat to the country. The threat I have has the potential to be even more destructive. I understand Draper not being over Nixon 30 years later. I’m still pissed off about the second Bush administration. Right now I think W. would be a pleasure cruise over where Trump’s going to take us.

I really didn’t want to do another cartoon related to Trump today but….damn…Richard Nixon.

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