Newspapers Cut Ties With Cartoonist for Expletive Aimed at President Trump Inside Cartoon

By Zachary Stieber

A professional cartoon drawer who inserted “[expletive] Trump” inside a cartoon was removed from the slate by at least two newspapers after a reader notified the outlet.

Wiley Miller, the cartoonist, drew a crude cartoon that showed a bear doing different things. Miller encouraged readers to color in the drawing and two others, which featured a character he named “Leonardo Bear Vinci.”

In the corner of the cartoon, he scrawled a sentence that ended with the expletive.

The publisher of the Pennsylvania newspaper Butler Eagle, Ron Vodenichar, said in a statement that a reader brought the issue to their attention and that the scrawled sentiment “was apparently placed there by someone in the creative department of the creator of the comic strip or the syndication which controls it.”

“Neither the Butler Eagle nor any other newspaper that includes this strip had an opportunity to remove it even if they had discovered it before distribution,” he added. “We apologize that such a disgusting trick was perpetuated on the reading public. The Butler Eagle will discontinue that comic immediately.”

In another statement, the Eagle said that the decision to stop publishing the comic stems from the profanity.

“As a family publication, we do not publish such foul language in our paper and we feel it was deceitful to try to hide such language in a Sunday cartoon targeted toward children by asking them to color the comic,” the outlet stated.

Andrews McMeel Syndication, which distributes the syndicated cartoon by Miller, known as Non-Sequitur, to more than 700 newspapers nationally, said the scrawl slipped past the editors.

“If we had discovered it, we would not have distributed the cartoon without it being removed,” the company said in a statement sent to news outlets. “We apologize to Non Sequitur’s clients and readers for our oversight.”

Miller wrote on Twitter that he was the one who scrawled the message and it matches the other scrawls in his cartoons, many of which are unreadable.

“Some of my sharp-eyed readers have spotted a little Easter egg from Leonardo Bear-Vinci. Can you find it?” he wrote.

Miller told the openly anti-Trump Washington Post that he drew the message but claimed he meant to remove it later. He only remembered he hadn’t, he claimed, when he opened a newspaper and saw the cartoon.

“It was not intended for public consumption, and I meant to white it out before submitting it, but forgot to,” Miller said. “Had I intended to make a statement to be understood by the readers, I would have done so in a more subtle, sophisticated manner.”

Miller stopped short of apologizing but added: “I have never done anything like this, nor do I intend to do so in the future.”

Dallas Morning News editor Mike Wilson said his paper will also stop running the comic.

“We can’t trust him,” Wilson said, “… so we are done with Non Sequitur.”

Trump’s Approval Rating Increase

President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address at the Capitol on Feb. 5, 2019. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

According to a new survey, President Donald Trump’s approval rating hit 52 percent for Feb. 11.

Rasmussen Reports, which carried out the daily tracking poll, said it was Trump’s “highest level of approval since shortly after his inauguration,” which was around March 2017.

Some 47 percent of respondents disapproved with the job he’s doing.

“The latest figures include 39 percent who Strongly Approve of the job Trump is doing and 39 percent who Strongly Disapprove,” said Rasmussen.

According to Rasmussen, former President Barack Obama’s approval rating on Feb. 11, 2011, was at 50 percent.

“Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis,” the pollster stated, adding that its “margin of sampling error for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters is +/- 2.5 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.”