The New Yorker held nothing back in its depiction of the latest scandal engulfing Washington, D.C. The May 22 cover drawing, titled “Ejected,” shows former FBI Director James Comey being dragged off a United Airlines flight by none other than Attorney General Jeff Sessions, depicted as a police officer. President Donald Trump, dressed as a pilot, looms behind him.
Trump fired Comey on Tuesday. He had been leading an FBI investigation into whether the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia, thereby influencing the outcome of the 2016 election.
Sessions had recused himself from the Russia investigation in March after it was revealed that he’d been in contact with Russian officials during the campaign ― information he didn’t disclose during his confirmation hearings. Yet he still “made a recommendation” to the president about Comey’s firing, Trump said in an interview with NBC News that aired Thursday.
“It’s probably a bit of a leap,” illustrator Barry Blitt said. “James Comey is six feet eight — he probably would have been happy to give up his seat in a cramped cabin.”
The illustration is a powerful nexus of two major news stories. It’s also a nod to the recent United Airlines controversy in which passenger David Dao was violently dragged off a plane. Disturbing video of the incident went viral, creating a public relations nightmare for the airline. Dao and United eventually settled for an undisclosed amount. Dao said he suffered a concussion, two broken teeth and a broken nose.
The cover inspired mixed emotions immediately after it went live: