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Rage can be a great motivator, as Jesse Duquette discovered on the day of the Trump White House’s first press conference. Duquette made a satirical cartoon of the event, posted it on social media, and vowed to do at least one Trump-related cartoon every day, “till this thing ends in cuffs or calamity.”

Fourteen months later, Duquette’s cartoon marathon is still running. The Daily Don, which appears on Instagram and Facebook, documents the president’s words, deeds and pretensions, in images that maintain a fine balance between humour and scorn.

“Trying to make it funny helps to deflate the topic,” Duquette said during a recent phone interview. “On a day when something really egregious happens, it’s a therapeutic process.”

The Daily Don doesn’t appear in any publication, and has received little notice from mainstream U.S. media. When the history of Trump’s reign is written, however, it could turn out that the most relentlessly on-point cartoon record of his administration was made not by a professional satirist in New York or Washington, but by a citizen cartoonist from northwestern Massachusetts.

  • The Daily Don cartoon by Jesse Duquette.The Globe and Mail

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Duquette has loved drawing since he was a kid, but had no ambitions to do satirical cartoons until Trump came along. He earns his living as a retail manager.

The Daily Don has made him a political news junkie, always on the lookout for the day’s theme. There’s seldom a shortage of material.

“Even George W. Bush, with all of his many faults, didn’t provide the volume of material that this administration does,” Duquette said. “This project only works because of this group of people.”

In the cartoons, Trump’s body is often bloated, his tie drags on the ground and his hands are almost invisibly small. Duquette has depicted the president as an absolute monarch, an enraged toddler and a cross-dressing cabaret crooner. But Trump’s face is usually a fair likeness. Duquette seldom does the broad facial caricature used by many editorial cartoonists.

“I feel like I can leave him more or less as is, and focus on the stuff he’s saying and doing,” he said. “The fundamental point is to document what’s occurring.”

Sometimes a member of Trump’s cabinet or entourage takes a starring role. The day after former White House communications director Hope Hicks testified that she had told “white lies” on Trump’s behalf, Duquette posted a cartoon of Hicks holding a sign that read: “White Lies Matter.”

Each cartoon features a quotation from some historical or literary source. For the Hicks cartoon, it was from Oscar Wilde: “She can talk brilliantly upon any subject provided she knows nothing about it.” An H.L. Mencken quotation, used with a cartoon about the firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, could stand as a motto for the entire series: “On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

The quotations provide historical context, Duquette said, and sometimes serve as reminders that the U.S. has been in tough situations before. “We were able to make it out the other side in the past, and hopefully we will again,” he said.

It usually takes him about two hours to settle on a subject, make a drawing and find a quotation. During the week, that happens after the end of his usual work day.

“I enjoy drawing more than anything else,” he said. “Doing something that forces me to draw for a couple of hours each night is not a punishment.”

Duquette has sold some prints from the Daily Don, but “I’ve been really lukewarm on commercializing it,” he said. “It seems so odd that someone would want a print of one of these people to frame and put on their walls.”

He won’t be sorry when there’s no reason to continue. “I would give up this project in a second, if it meant not having this guy and his group around.”

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