NY Times Opinion cartoon depicts Trump making out with Putin (Update: Stephen Colbert flashback)

The NY Times opinion page has created a series of short, animated videos about President Trump, starting with this one suggesting Trump is looking to slip Vladimir Putin some tongue during a date. The clip depicts Trump as getting ready for a date with Putin. The two go for a drive and then wind up riding a unicorn together. Then they start kissing and we get a long scene of two tongues. It ends with Trump in his underwear, watching TV with a Putin poster on the wall of his bedroom. The clip itself is a couple weeks old but it got renewed attention today when the Times tweeted it out:


That led to some criticism from a Vox writer who called it “homophobic trash”:

There are quite a few others who responded to the clip in the same way, i.e. that it’s homophobic. Others argue it’s simply not very good:

Since most of the people responding only have a few followers I’m not going to embed their tweets, but here’s a sample of what some are saying:

  • “Wtf is wrong with you? I’m no fan of DJT, but this helps no one and expresses nothing worthy. Rethink your principles.”
  • “bad call. Trump is deserving of every criticism in the world but this is just wrong. Delete and apologize for being so homophobic today or I cancel my subscription.”
  • “Less homophobia next time pls.”
  • “Did you all stop to think about the gay community? No. Your lizard brain doesn’t see how your homophobic rants is insulting to gays. #disgusting”
  • “1989 called; even They think this is homophobic garbage.”

This isn’t really very original. More than two years ago, someone put up a mural of Trump and Putin kissing in Lithuania. It became an international news story at the time. CNN reported:

A mural depicting presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin kissing, along with the stenciled phrase “make everything great again,” now adorns the back of a Lithuanian barbeque joint, Keule Ruke.

The image has gone viral, but the artist — Mindaugas Bonanu — told CNN Sunday that he was mostly unfazed by the international attention his mural received.

Here’s the mural from 2016:

The YouTube version of the NY Times cartoon is dated July 2, 2018. The description beneath the cartoon reads:

“Trump Bites” is a series of three short video cartoons that combine real Donald Trump audio clips with hand-drawn fantasy animations by Mr. Plympton. The video cartoons riff on Mr. Trump’s absurd utterances to illustrate the president’s tumultuous inner life of paranoia, narcissism and xenophobia.

Here it is:

Update: I almost forgot about this one. Last May, Stephen Colbert made a similar joke about Trump and Putin. From Vox:

Colbert was in the middle of a monologue launching various insults at Trump, including some fat shaming, “presidunce,” and “pricktator.” In the course of this, he said, “The only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.”

This is a kind of insult that has been used against Trump again and again. From murals of Trump and Putin making out to late night show gags, it’s now pretty popular among progressives to paint the US and Russian presidents as being gay for each other.

But the only way this works as a joke is by demeaning gay people. The underlying implication here is that gay relationships are somehow extra funny — that Trump engaging in sexual acts with Putin is hilarious because it’s gay.


Here’s the clip:

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