It might seem almost cliched at this point to smear President Trump as a Nazi. That’s how much the press hates this president on a daily basis. But putting a swastika on his sleeve can draw a surprising reaction.
According to an article posted on Friday by Post writer/artist Michael Cavna: “At the weekly Islander News, in Key Biscayne, Florida… the leadership has stood by its decision to run a hot-button cartoon, while running numerous letters over the past several weeks to let its tight-knit community air their views on why the artwork was so incendiary.”
The June 11 cartoon, created by veteran contributing cartoonist Peter Evans, depicts President Trump saying: “Chuck the Constitution.”
To try to drive home his point, Evans drew a partially obscured swastika on Trump’s suit jacket.
The opposition to his use of the Nazi symbol was swift and sizable.
The surprise here is who was most offended!
“I have never received such a large response,” he added. “This touched a nerve that surprised me. Not so much from Republicans, but from the Jewish community.”
The newspaper ran a sampling of letters the following week. One offended reader called the cartoon anti-Semitic, writing: “Never expected our local newspaper to be so out of touch with many, if not most, of the Key Biscayne residents.”
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The following week, the Islander News ran several pages of letters and commentary. A notable guest column was written by Avremel Caroline, rabbi of the Chabad Key Biscayne Jewish Center.
“For many, the swastika is a deeply personal symbol,” Caroline wrote on June 18. “It is a representation of the greatest evil that modern history has witnessed, and it is an atrocity that has a direct impact on so many of our lives…… The use of a swastika as the symbol for everything dictatorial (or even fascistic) greatly diminishes the true scale of evil that Nazism represented, even when compared with other dictatorial or fascistic regimes.”
The Evans cartoon argued — cartoonishly — that the First Amendment’s right to assemble peacefully was opposed by Trump, quoted as saying “You have to dominate or you’ll look like a bunch of jerks, you have to arrest and try people.”
That’s an attempt to quote Trump….talking to governors about looting, arson, vandalism, and beating and/or shooting police officers.
Meanwhile, Tom Clifford — the newspaper’s associate publisher — also defended the cartoon in an article on June 18, noting “the best ones [images are] provocative.”
Because the swastika “remains associated with white power extremists worldwide, including the U.S. — groups that support the president, and who Trump has refused to condemn.” False. Trump has condemned neo-Nazis.
“It was also heavy handed, inelegant and inadvertently insensitive,” the associate editor added, noting: “But it was not libelous or slanderous.”
Clifford said the paper respected the artist’s right to express his opinion. Then on June 26, they published the cartoonist Evans defending his work. “The partial swastika was not meant to offend,” he wrote. “It was cartoon shorthand for what can happen when we ignore dangers the Constitution protects us from.”
“If you think that could never happen here and are not old enough to remember, I urge you to Google ‘McCarthyism,’ “ added Evans. “The use of the swastika was actually an afterthought,” Evans noted. ” I saw parallels between what is happening today and 1933 and tried to communicate that visually.”
“The swastika is a detestable symbol. But it is only a symbol. I feel we should be more focused on what brought the symbol about.”