Rob Rogers (right) speaking with Lynn Cullen on June 7
Rob Rogers doesn’t want to normalize this president.
Over the last few months, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
editorial board has pulled several editorial cartoons submitted by Rogers, a longtime cartoonist. Those pieces included criticism of President Donald Trump and his immigration enforcement
policies and the NFL’s new national anthem rule that Trump fervently backs.
After initially opting for silence on the situation, Rogers continued going public Thursday with an appearance on Lynn Cullen Live. (Listen to the full interview on Cullen's podcast
Rogers, who also appeared Wednesday on CNN, says seeing public support convinced him to begin speaking out.
“They were as fully outraged about this as I am,” Rogers says of readers.
The Post Gazette’s editorial wing is no stranger to recent controversies. An editorial defending Trump and his racist remarks about immigrants from African countries led to widespread condemnation
. Unionized staffers did publish a letter to the editor denouncing the editorial that defends Trump. Later, staffers also participated in a byline strike to protest stagnant wages and contentious contract negotiations with Block Communications Inc., the Toledo-based owner of the Post-Gazette
“I think it is fairly obvious that the paper and editorial page in particular has shifted its slant,” says Rogers. “It was always a liberal paper and now it is shifting. And it has happened more dramatically since Trump was elected.”
Trump’s impact on the Post-Gazette
and the country as a whole that has motivated Rogers. He says Trump is the “most dangerous” president he has drawn. Rogers views showcasing Trump in cartoons as necessary to keep a check on the president.
“The danger here is that people could start to say ‘that is just Trump’ and start to normalize some of the things he is doing,” says Rogers.
Rogers’ issues with Trump include changes to environmental policies and a shift on trade policies. He condemns any censorship of his cartoons towards Trump, since Trump is the most powerful person in the world and Rogers says his job is to satirize and criticize people in power.
“He is the president,” says Rogers. “He is the leader of the free world, and to ask a political cartoonist to either not cover him or go soft on him is incredible.”
Rogers says his hope is to draw and be published in the Post-Gazette
regardless of who he criticizes.
“I think it is really important for newspapers to stand up and to fight for what it right,” says Rogers. “I love my job. I love going to the drawing table and seeing what I can draw. And I love the readership. And I all want to do is keep doing my job. So let me do my job.”
editorial director Burris did not immediately return calls requesting comment for this story.
A rally in support of Rogers and in condemnation of the Post-Gazette
editorial board will be held at 11 a.m. on June 10, in front of 34 Boulevard of the Allies, Downtown (the former P-G building).
Editor's note: Original version erroneously stated Post-Gazette staffers participated in a byline strike in response to the editorial defending Trump. Byline strike was over a labor dispute.