Since first becoming a contender for the presidency in 2015, President Donald Trump has been a gushing fount of inspiration for political cartoonists, late-night TV hosts and the entire comedy industry. His bizarre public pronouncements; his toxic-tweet flurries; his malevolent, mendacious persona; and his coterie of sycophants, mediocrities and right-wing weirdos provide so much material for satire that people assume this is a golden age for those of us who make a living making fun of the powers that be.

The truth, though, is that Trump gives us far too much to work with. The specialty of political cartoonists, in particular, has always been to take note of the flaws and foolishness of the movers and shakers in society and to exaggerate those elements to create edgy, jugular art that declares to any who will listen that “the emperor has no clothes.” But what does a satirist do when the emperor very proudly boasts about being naked?

Or, more specifically, what can be said in a cartoon about a president who, on live television, suggests that a cure for COVID-19 might be achieved if people ingest disinfectant and expose their innards to light? How can any cartoon get more exaggerated or more shockingly weird than that?

Cartooning Trump has become a mere act of illustration, not comedic exaggeration. Trump cannot be cartooned; he is a cartoon.

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