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Review of The Political Cartoon 'The Trumps Tapes We Need’

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Table of contents

  1. Visual Features
  2. Language Features and Text
  3. Conclusion

The political cartoon ‘The Trumps Tapes We Need…’ was drawn by the American cartoonist Adam Zyglis for the Buffalo News newspaper but became widely known after Zyglis posted it on his Twitter account on October 12th, 2016.

The cartoon was published in reference to the Trump Tapes Scandal in 2016. Prior knowledge is required for the viewer to be able to understand the cartoon. A tape was released 4 years ago, that reportedly had recordings of Donald Trump making misogynistic comments about women while on a radio show ‘Access Hollywood’ with Billy Bush in 2005. Trump boasted about how since ‘he was a star he could do anything and whatever he wants, and get away with it’ . This led to millions of women publicly sharing their experience of sexual abuse and over 10 million tweets were made in regard to it. Zyglis is conveying the message that instead of trying to search for the alleged tapes that hold evidence against Donald Trump, they should just simply as a nation, shut Trump’s mouth using tape. The cartoon also implicitly implies that Donald Trump should not have the responsibility of being president and should be voted out.

This cartoon revolves around the represented participants of Donald Trump, the current US president, and the US nation, as represented by the two characters involved in this cartoon. Caricature is widely used by cartoonist since it is a picture or imitation of a person whose certain characteristics are exaggerated in a grotesque way. Zyglis drew Donald Trump as a caricature, with Trump’s face and upper body being proportionally large in the frame. The first feature that the viewer’s attention is drawn to is Donald Trump’s overly manicured, yellow hair. Zyglis purposely lengthened Trump’s hair past his face to ridicule him. Trump is dressed in his usual suit – white shirt, black blazer and a red tie to show affiliation with the Republican Party. His face is drawn as round and broad with little neck showing, and his famous tan is also visible. Furthermore, his cheeks are coloured a slight red, which could suggest anger. His squinted small eyes and arched, furrowed eyebrows also suggest that Trump is irritated or angry which could be because his mouth has been taped shut.

It is implicitly implied that the second represented participant involved in this political cartoon is the United States of America (US). The sleeve has the colours red, white, and blue and resembles the U.S flag which suggests that the hand represents the whole nation. Due to this, it can be perceived that the Unites States Government wants Trump to stop his rambling about things that don’t make sense, instead they want him to act responsibly and sensibly to regain the trust from the Government, and hence from the vast majority of the population of the country. Additionally, the hand is holding a role of silver tape which is ripped, and it matches the tape on Donald Trump’s mouth as well.

Visual Features

The cartoonist achieved the visual and literary allusion of the 2005 video tapes scandal of Donald Trump and also how the public feels towards him.

Donald Trump’s gaze is directed towards the United States of America hand; his eyes are in narrowed slits, perhaps indicating that he is infuriated by the decision of taping his mouth. The cartoonist cleverly chose to use an intra-diegetic gaze – where a figure is looking at another object or figure within the text – to encourage the viewer to also look at the other object or figure, which is the hand. An intra-diegetic gaze is often ‘used to create communication within the image’ since the figures are interacting with each other as opposed to the viewers.

Additionally, the tape across Trump’s mouth and tape roll are salient in this cartoon since they are the focal viewpoint for the viewer and also emphasizes the message the cartoonist is conveying, which is that everyone should stand together as a nation and shut Donald Trump’s mouth. Likewise, the background colour of the cartoon seems to be mainly white, except around Donald Trump. A slightly greyish tint is shown surrounding around Donald Trump getting darker the closer it gets to Trump. Also, there are few specks of black flicked sparsely around Donald Trump. This implicitly relates to good and evil where good is represented as white, while black or grey is represented as evil. Adam Zyglis is subtly informing the viewers that as long as Donald Trump will be president, he will continue bringing ‘evilness’.

Language Features and Text

The phrase ‘The Trump Tape we need…’ is a pun since it is referring to shutting Donald Trump’s mouth so he doesn’t say or suggest anything and the other meaning of the phrase is about the supposedly tapes of Trump where he is commenting misogynistically on women.


This cartoon clearly illustrates the cartoonist’s strong feelings of antipathy towards the US president, Donald Trump, and encompasses what majority of the population of the country thinks and feels about Trump.  

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Review of the Political Cartoon ‘The Trumps Tapes We Need’. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from
“Review of the Political Cartoon ‘The Trumps Tapes We Need’.” GradesFixer, 30 Aug. 2022,
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