It’s got the best words.
And no, it’s not another of Trump’s Twitter storms.
Instead The Washington Post cartoonist Ann Telnaes has brought us Trump’s ABC, a tongue-in-cheek cartoonist commentary where the tongue is tightly bit. Where Telnaes pays homage to America’s most juvenile president by presenting his best parts from A-Z (or worst, it depends on your point of view) in the style of a children’s picture book – and it’s tremendously good.
Each page of the picture book is dripping with character in the political cartoonist’s distinctive watercolour style, every illustration accompanied by a nursery-style rhyme relating to one of Trump’s defining attributes. And from “T is for tweeting thin-skinned and obtuse” to “X is for Xanax, which we’ll all need real bad”, the cartoon compendium is a laugh from beginning to end – a playful distillation of that now international pastime: mocking the President.
But Trump’s ABC isn’t all fun and games, there’s a serious underlying critique here too. “Even though it’s in the guise of a children’s book, I wanted it to have issues in it” Telnaes says in an interview with The Argonaut, “I wanted to point out the things that maybe not everyone is focusing on because it’s more fun to talk about a tweet that has ‘covfefe’ in it”.
And Telnaes has a point. In fact it seemed especially timely to me that ABC‘s February release date so happens to coincide with the President’s renewed bid to defund some of America’s biggest libraries, humanities, and arts associations. As if Telnaes has pre-empted Trump’s attempt to eliminate agencies of education by encouraging us to get back to the basics, the ABCs. Reminding us of the issues that matter, the conflicts of interest, the separation of powers, the sexual abuse and the fundamentalist agendas, at the top of Trump’s administration. Indeed, Trump’s ABC is as much a summary of the silly as it is a measure for the madness, a helpful anthology of the worst of Trump’s offences so far – and a very funny one at that.