July 20 marked a year and a half into the Biden administration, but you’d never know that from Garry Trudeau, the liberal hack political cartoonist behind the long-running, but highly overrated “Doonesbury” comic strip.
Though former President Donald Trump has been out of the White House now for more than 18 months, he apparently still lives rent-free in the head of Trudeau, who clearly suffers from Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Trudeau—whose Sunday-only “Doonesbury” cartoon strips not surprisingly still lead the color comics section of the Trump-hating Washington Post—continues to savage the 45th president regularly.
But not once in the 78 Sundays since Jan. 20, 2021, has he ridiculed anything President Joe Biden has said or done, despite Sleepy Joe’s countless verbal gaffes, word salads, and abject policy failures so richly deserving of lampooning.
Politicians are fair game for satire and ridicule, of course, but Trudeau’s attacks on Trump aren’t funny. They’re just relentlessly vicious and mean-spirited.
The personal attacks leveled throughout the Trump presidency have continued since “the former guy”—as Trudeau now calls him—left office on Jan. 20, 2021.
Four days later, on Jan. 24, he likened Trump being gone from the White House to the August 1974 end of the presidency of Richard Nixon, whom Trudeau also savaged in his strip. (“Doonesbury” debuted in October 1970 as a daily comic strip and went to Sundays only in February 2014.)
But that was tame compared with what has followed since. Among the most egregious examples:
Feb. 21, 2021: “Trump was the only candidate ever endorsed by the Taliban, the highly respected terrorist group.” (That “endorsement” was likely meant to hurt Trump rather than help him, and Trump was far tougher on the Taliban than Biden, whose precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan gifted the Taliban with $80 billion in U.S. military armaments. Trump never would have allowed that to happen.)
Feb. 28, 2021: A recurring character, a career scam artist named Duke, laments that Trump had passed him over as an adviser in favor of the deposed dictator of the fictional Berzerkistan, “[a] dictator who had rivals shot. Someone he [Trump] could look up to.”
March 7, 2021: “I wonder if authoritarians ever learn their lesson?” Trudeau’s “Doonesbury” mused after Trump’s second unwarranted impeachment. Accompanying it is an illustration of a New York Times article about Adolf Hitler’s release from a German prison in December 1924 with the headline: “Hitler tamed by prison.” (It’s standard operating procedure for the left to liken Republican presidents to Hitler.)
April 11, 2021: Two characters are discussing Shakespearean lines as they supposedly relate to Trump, though without mentioning him by name: “A most notable coward!” “An infinite and endless liar!” “An hourly promise-breaker!”
At that point, someone else chimes in: “He’s off Twitter. He’s gone! Why is everyone still obsessing over the former guy?” Trudeau might want to ask himself that.
Aug. 29, 2021: Trudeau also besmirches Trump supporters. At a stadium rally attended by MAGA hat-wearing redneck types, a public address announcer asks for a show of hands. “Who here refuses to get vaccinated?” The cartoonist then tut-tuts: “Even though the unvaccinated are the only people still dying of COVID.” That was demonstrably false, even back then.
It’s doubtful Trudeau will call out the double-vaxxed, double-boosted Biden over his repeated assertions that COVID-19 is “a pandemic of the unvaccinated” after the president last week contracted it twice.
Nor has Trudeau pointed out that more Americans have died of COVID-19 in Biden’s first 18 months in office than under Trump in his final year-and-a-half, despite the former having benefited from inheriting the vaccines developed on his predecessor’s watch.
Sept. 19, 2021: “Doonesbury” returned to the COVID-19 theme with “your favorite still-president” supposedly suing for vaccine royalties (untrue) and perpetuating the falsehood spread by the mainstream media that Trump had advocated testing injections of bleach as a treatment. That was taken totally out of context, as any honest reading of Trump’s admittedly rambling April 23, 2020, musing on the subject would show.
Feb. 6 and 13, 2022: “At the state funeral for the 45th president,” it’s suggested that no one would attend “except out of curiosity.” That’s ludicrous on its face, given the tens of thousands who typically show up for Trump’s arena-sized rallies. Also, disheveled “MAGA mourners” are depicted shouting, “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!”
May 1, 2022: A TV news report explains that Russian President Vladimir Putin justifies his invasion of Ukraine “with relentless propaganda”; specifically, that it was necessary to purge the country of Nazis. It then cuts away to a man with a red MAGA cap and a woman with a Q (for QAnon) T-shirt watching Trump repeating his claim that he won the 2020 election. In a cheap shot, the man says, “It’s Nazis. Nazis stole it,” to which the woman replies: “Wait, aren’t they on our side?”
June 6, 2022: The aforementioned ex-dictator of Berzerkistan, talking to an ambulance-chasing lawyer in an emergency room, offers him a job working for “the current president of the United States.” Lawyer: “You work for Trump?” Ex-dictator: “You’re hired.” (Never mind that slip-and-fall tort lawyers overwhelmingly support Democrats.)
There were other examples, but those were the most intellectually dishonest and mean-spirited.
Moreover, Trump is far from the only target of Trudeau’s poison pen. During the same 18-month period reviewed, “Doonesbury” also viciously attacked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis; South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia; Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Ted Cruz of Texas; former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin; and Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
What do they have in common? They’re all conservative Republicans. There have been no comparable “Doonesbury” fusillades fired at, say, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; or any number of other left-wing Democrats—all of them eminently lampoonable.
(The only Democrat to draw the wrath of “Doonesbury” was Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., for single-handedly blocking, until this week, Biden’s Build Back Better boondoggle.)
In the May 30, 2021, “Doonesbury” strip, whose storyline otherwise had nothing to do with him, Trudeau also took a gratuitous shot at Donald Trump Jr.
And that brings us back to Biden, because the cartoonist hasn’t written (or drawn) a single word about first son Hunter Biden, whose corrupt multimillion-dollar business dealings around the globe and whose well-publicized drug use and repeated escapades with hookers are surely editorial cartoon fodder. They certainly would be if it were either of Trump’s sons—and rightly so.
In fact, the closest Trudeau has come to criticizing the current president occurred obliquely Nov. 7, more than a year after his election. A recurring swashbuckler character, “the Rascal,” travels to Afghanistan to rescue Americans stranded there by Biden’s abrupt U.S. pullout in August. “Oh, my God! Taliban warplanes!” one of the would-be rescuees shouts. “Relax,” the Rascal says. “They don’t know how to fly them yet.”
Trudeau is apparently more concerned about the Americans stranded in Afghanistan than the president is, but note the absence of any acknowledgement that Biden is responsible for them being there or for the fact that the Taliban have warplanes at all—U.S. warplanes he left behind in his reckless withdrawal.
“Doonesbury” also has not savaged Biden for any aspect of his omnishambles administration—the highest-ever gas prices, a 40-year-high rate of inflation, open-borders illegal immigration, soaring violent crime rates and homelessness in our cities, its pro-transgender war on (real) women, unqualified and incompetent Cabinet members, or anything else.
Biden’s pratfalls on the steps of Air Force One or on a bike trail in Delaware never happened as far as “Doonesbury” is concerned. Nor have any of the innumerable verbal miscues of the president or of his in-over-her-head vice president, Kamala Harris.
The fact of the matter is, “Doonesbury” hasn’t been funny—just nasty—for years. It long ago jumped the shark.
Gary Larson, creator of “The Far Side,” and Bill Watterson, the artist behind “Calvin and Hobbes,” prematurely retired those comic strips (both of them far funnier than the long-in-the-tooth “Doonesbury” ever was) and did so at the height of their popularity, no less.
If Trudeau weren’t such a left-wing political hack, he would have hung up his poison pen long ago.
A version of this commentary first appeared in The Washington Times.
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