How Cartoonists Recount the January 6 Hearings



As Adam Zyglis watched the public hearings of the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol, his mind quickly turned to Maurice Sendak.

Sendak, of course, is the author of classic children’s books such as “Where the Wild Things Are.” That headline resonated with Zyglis, the political cartoonist for the Buffalo News, when discussions during Tuesday’s hearings focused on a tweet from Dec. 19, 2020 – in which President Donald Trump called on his supporters to attend a protest. of January 6 which he declared “will be wild.”

This tweet was preceded by what The Washington Post called a “wild session”: a tense and angry six-hour Oval Office meeting on December 18, during which White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson sent a text: “West wing is UNHINGED.”

Zyglis decided to draw Trump dressed as Max, the lonely boy leader of Sendak’s fantasy who tames forest monsters, joining them in a “wild ruckus” before ordering them to stop. In Zyglis’ cartoon riff, the monsters are labeled as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers – sporting a QAnon pin, MAGA hat and Stop the Steal flag.

“The beasts in Sendak’s story captured the sense of unruly lawlessness of these far-right groups well,” Zyglis says, with Trump “perfectly cast” as the child king.

“Satire and visual metaphor are instructive and therapeutic at times like these, when many of our ideals are threatened,” says the cartoonist, who believes that “these hearings confirmed what most Americans already knew, but in disturbing detail and clarity.”

“As a big Sendak fan,” he adds, “I just hope it would have given him a smile.”

Ann Telnaes has also created a striking cartoon that nods to a previous work.

Days after the 1972 Watergate robbery, Herblock, then a cartoonist for The Post, drew the footprints of multiple scandals all leading suspiciously to the White House.

Telnaes, a cartoonist and animator for the Post, this week drew footprints — as a metaphor for real evidence — all leading to Trump.

“I watched all the hearings, and some of the information is not new, but there is still amazing information that has come to light,” Telnaes said via email. “For example, while Hutchinson’s testimony about Trump grabbing the steering wheel and rushing towards the driver [inside the presidential SUV as the Capitol riot unfolded] was a wonderful visual for cartoonists, what opened my eyes was his January 2 conversation with [Rudy] Giuliani walking him back to his car and then his subsequent conversation with his boss, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

“They knew what was going to happen on Capitol Hill,” Telnaes continues, adding, “The Herblock-inspired footprints leading up to Trump all seemed apt.”

Mike Luckovich also sees Trump as central to the attempted insurrection, so he drew the then-president shouting a movie director’s order – “Action!” — to the demonstrators.

“After reviewing what I heard in the last hearing, it became even more apparent that Trump was the ringleader and was ordering his misguided supporters to attack the Capitol,” says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution political cartoonist .

The audiences offer so much satirical potential that Luckovich imagines them “like sideboards” for cartoonists. Does it depict attorney Sidney Powell “ruining a company’s reputation by drinking Diet Dr Pepper while testifying?” Am I making a cartoon about these two deprogrammed former Trump supporters, who, like millions of other gullible Americans, were defrauded by Trump?

Plus, Luckovich’s deadline means he only has a few hours to finish his cartoon from the start of each day’s ratings — a narrow window he finds exhilarating.

Luckovich says the ratings exceeded his expectations. “I feel like a lot of people who first believed the big lie – that the election was stolen – now have serious doubts.”

Here’s how other cartoonists tell the audiences:

“Sometimes cartoon ideas don’t come out easily…like trying to squeeze the ketchup out of the bottom of the bottle. I actually couldn’t think of anything related to condiments at first. … The next day, I understood that this splash on the wall of the White House was a good summary of his presidency. That’s when this idea seeped out, like ketchup from a plastic bottle. Two of Trump’s greatest flaws were a lack of respect for the law and a lack of self-control, and these were on full display in the ketchup incident,” referring to the moment an angry Trump threw his lunch on the walls of the White House, causing ketchup. to drain them, according to Hutchinson’s testimony.

Steve Breen, San Diego Union-Tribune

Meet the Fans Who Follow January 6th Ratings as Must-Try TV

“The January 6 committee hearings are unfortunately a Rorschach test. … Evidence and Revelations [show] an orchestrated coup attempt, if you’re horrified by Trump and his narcissistic antics. Or a biased and unfair attempt to smear a “fiery” rally in favor of a rightfully aggrieved ex-president – if you’re a fan of Trumpism. The political moment we have been experiencing since 2016 continues to feel otherworldly, as if we are entering an antinormal and diversionary wormhole. Looking at the stunning images returned by the James Webb Space Telescope, the parallels seemed to lend themselves to cartooning.

“Each of these unique characters – Rudy Giuliani, [Rep.] Marjorie Taylor Greene, Sidney Powell et al. — slowly emerged during Trump’s reign and the aftermath of Jan. 6. I thought they all looked like a motley crew of ridiculous villains. …Central Casting couldn’t have done better to cast these clowns.

Dave Whamond, Cagle Cartoons

“It’s clear to anyone not deceived by the right-wing media that Trump is a thug who learned civics from gangsters.”

Patrick Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) “makes my job easier. I thought things would get boring after Trump left. (Cheney, vice-chairman of the committee investigating the attack, said multiple criminal referrals could be in the works, adding, “The Justice Department doesn’t have to wait for the committee to make a criminal referral. “)

—Jeff Danziger, The Rutland Herald


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