“I was dumbstruck that Pence did it,” Politico cartoonist Matt Wuerker says, “and equally dumbstruck that the doctors at the Mayo Clinic allowed him to do it. If this had been an episode of ‘ER,’ Dr. George Clooney would have dramatically barred the door and explained that the doctors in the hospital had sworn an oath and it wasn’t to Trump.”
“Not only did he put himself and others at risk — and violate his own policy and that of the hospital — he set a horrible example for his followers and all of us out here watching his every move,” says Rick McKee, a longtime Augusta Chronicle cartoonist who now draws for the syndication site CagleCartoons and the newsletter CounterPoint. “Just beyond stupid.”
The challenge for editorial artists then became how to channel those emotions into a sharply succinct cartoon.
“My solution was the Grim Reaper in a MAGA hat throwing away his mask,” says McKee, a conservative commentator. “And that’s exactly what I think will happen. Pence just gave this chunk of society already disinclined to wear a mask a license not to.”
Ohman originally captioned his cartoon with an unmasked character “The Loon Ranger” before changing it to “The Alone Ranger.”
“I felt as I was finishing up that the lunacy was self-evident, and the true issue was that he was alone in a crowd,” Ohman, a left-leaning cartoonist, says of Pence.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mike Luckovich thinks Pence went maskless to impress President Trump. “I thought, ‘What a wimpy idiot,’ and tried to come up with an image that reflected that,” the left-leaning cartoonist says. “Pence explaining that it’s a face mask you wear on your head seemed like something typical of what a Trump administration official would say” — so Luckovich drew Pence wearing a surgical mask as a dunce cap.
A key element when capturing Pence is his distinctive expression.
“His eyes — they are the main peg you can hang a caricature on,” says Wuerker, a self-described liberal cartoonist. “They’re deeply set and determined to remain opaque, offering no window on the soul. If you can capture those eyes, combined with the constant unnatural rectitude of his very stiff body language, you can get pretty close with the caricature.”
Here is how some other political cartoonists satirized Pence’s maskless Mayo Clinic visit:
Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Adam Zyglis, Buffalo News:
Jeffrey Koterba, Omaha World-Herald: