A MICA Faculty Member Designed This Hard-Hitting New Yorker Cover of President Trump

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David Plunkert’s Aug. 28 cover for The New Yorker. Credit: The New Yorker.

The cover of this week’s New Yorker depicting President Donald Trump powering a boat with a sail that looks an awful lot like a Ku Klux Klan hood was designed by one of Baltimore’s own.

David Plunkert’s illustration, seen above, is front and center on the Aug. 28 issue of the popular news, culture, criticism and creative writing magazine based in Lower Manhattan. The image succinctly criticizes the president’s response to the Aug. 12 violence in Charlottesville, Va., in which hundreds of white supremacists and neo-Nazis clashed with counter-protesters in the historic town. By the end of the day, three people had died and 35 others were injured.

Plunkert, a Baltimore-based graphic designer and an instructor in the Maryland Institute College of Art’s illustration department told The New Yorker he rarely covers politics in his art, but the aftermath to Charlottesville called for an exception.

“President Trump’s weak pushback to hate groups—as if he was trying not to alienate them as voters—compelled me to take up my pen,” he said. “A picture does a better job showing my thoughts than words do; it can have a light touch on a subject that’s extremely scary.”

In the aftermath of the Aug. 12 violence in Charlottesville, Trump at first placed blame on “many sides.” That drew ample criticism from many Americans, who instead pointed the finger at the hundreds of people who convened at the site of a Confederate memorial and set things off by chanting Nazi slogans. Trump two days later condemned the neo-Nazis, but then doubled down the next day on his initial remarks, angrily telling reporters there were “very fine people on both sides” and criticizing a group he called the “alt-left.”

The backlash against the president has been relentless, particularly among news outlets. Plunkert designed one of several major magazine covers implying ties between the president — or the United States in general — and white hate.

Reached for additional comment by email, Plunkert said The New Yorker was handling all coverage of his cover. A spokeswoman for the magazine subsequently declined to comment on the work, saying only, “we’re going to let the cover speak for itself.”

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Associate Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan is Baltimore Fishbowl's associate editor. He previously covered Baltimore-area news as a web producer for Fox45/WBFF-TV. Before arriving in Baltimore, he worked as an assistant editor for CQ Researcher in Washington D.C., and a reporter for Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. Look for his freelance bylines in Baltimore City Paper and DCist.
Ethan McLeod
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