A magazine cover featuring Donald Trump and Joe Biden with walkers has sparked online controversy as it was labelled “ageist” and “ableist.”
The cover of The New Yorker’s 2 October edition was illustrated by Barry Blitt and pokes fun at the current generation of ageing American political titans.
It depicts President Joe Biden, 80, former President Donald Trump, 77 Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 81 and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 83, all in sports gear racing - but with walkers.
In the story accompanying the cover by Francoise Mouly, he asks if the US is “in danger of becoming a sclerotic gerontocracy,” - in other words, being ruled by elders who do not have the ability to adapt to change.
He says the “cartoonist Barry Blitt portrays the irony and absurdity of the advanced-age politicians currently vying for our top offices.”
Mr Mouly added that he and Blitt are both in their mid-to-late sixties and can draw from their “own experiences” on the matter of older politicians.
“As a fellow old duffer (I’m nearly three years older than he is), I called him for a kvetch fest and was rewarded with talk of borrowed walkers, missing teeth, lost hair, and some new belly buttons,” Mr Mouly writes.
The cartoonist and the writer talk in turns within the article about various things that come with old age: hernias, loss of their hair, how many teeth they’ve lost and of course, walkers.
Despite, the cartoonist and journalist joking about their own seasoned ages, many critics took to X to discuss their distaste for the new cartoon.
Victor Shi, the youngest Biden Delegate elected in 2020, wrote “Hey, New Yorker: THIS is seriously your cover for next week’s magazine? Not only is it incredibly ageist but it’s ableist & a slap in the face to every person in America who needs a walker & who has a disability. This is disgusting & vulgar beyond words. Just STOP it already.”
“As a young person who uses mobility aids, this is offensive. None of the people on the cover require them & Pelosi still walks in [heels],” one X user also commented.
In a recent speech by President Biden at the annual Philadephia Labor Day parade, he made a joke at his doubters about his old age.
“I tell you what, someone said, ‘You know what? That Biden, he’s getting old, man. I tell you what,’” President Biden said. “Well, guess what? Guess what? You know, the only thing that comes with age is a little bit of wisdom. I’ve been doing this longer than anybody, and guess what? I’m going to continue to do it, with your help.”
An AP-NORC poll released last month found that 77 per cent said Biden is too old to be effective for four more years, with 89 per cent of Republicans and 69 per cent of Democrats creating the average.
Unsurprisingly, only 28 per cent of Republicans believe Trump is too old for another term, whereas 71 per cent of Democrats do, despite the three-year age gap between the two politicians.
Cartoonist Barry Blitt has faced controversy in the past, most notably for his cover for The New Yorker in 2008, which depicted Michelle and Barack Obama standing in the Oval Office with traditional Muslim clothing and an assault rifle on the former First Lady’s shoulder.