Sean Hannity Asked the Left to Weigh In on a Cheesy Donald Trump Painting and Got More Than He Bargained For

Would-be art critics are savaging Jon McNaughton's pro-Trump work.

Jon McNaughton, Respect the Flag (2018). Courtesy of the artist.
Jon McNaughton, Respect the Flag (2018). Courtesy of the artist.

Fox News’s Sean Hannity has thrown down the gauntlet. In a post on Twitter, he challenged the “left” to dare to speak ill of a painting of President Donald Trump by Jon McNaughton, a dedicated conservative artist. From the art world and beyond, Twitter users happily acquiesced, unleashing a torrent of criticism trolling the conservative talk show host.

The hagiographic painting, titled Respect the Flag, shows Trump in the middle of a football field, cradling a tattered American flag as he attempts to clean it. It is equal parts lionization of the president and critique of the protests of a number of African-American NFL players, who took to kneeling during the National Anthem as a way of speaking out against police violence inflicted on minorities.

“When President Trump chose to speak out against their actions, a lot of people said ‘That’s unbecoming of a president,'” said McNaughton in a video shared by Hannity. “My opinion is that is exactly what a president should do: stand up for American values.”

Twitter users were quick to point out that the NFL protests were not directed at the flag, and had never damaged the Stars and Stripes. They also lambasted McNaughton’s likeness of Trump, with Twitter user @hello_caitlin retitling it “Bewildered Old Man Wanders on to a Football Field Carrying His Blanket.”

Splinter News astutely observed that McNaughton is “a kind of right-wing Norman Rockwell for people who think Obama is secretly Muslim.” Twitter user @sadhourglass blasted the artist and the “poorly executed” canvas for “attempting to combine photorealism and Impressionism like a bastardization of Thomas Kinkade.”

“This is obviously a Hobby Lobby exclusive paint-by-numbers production,” added Susie Hopper, name-dropping the archconservative arts and craft store. Twitter’s @SimonSaysBooHoo found that “it’s lacking realness. Needs more orange tint,” while @sploosk insisted that “I won’t respect it until the artist cuts his own ear off like Van Gogh. Please notify him of this challenge.”

Others mocked Hannity’s predilection for unnecessary punctuation.

Art journalist Scott Indrisek also chimed in, referencing Hannity’s recent reporting on the unveiling of President Barack Obama’s official portrait by Kehinde Wiley at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Hannity was forced to delete a provocatively titled piece, “PORTRAIT PERVERSION: Obama Portrait Features ‘SECRET SPERM,’ Artist Joked About ‘Killing Whitey,'” that was based entirely on a 4chan conspiracy theory.

Hannity apologized for circulating the blatantly fake news, but for some reason is staying awfully quiet regarding theories that McNaughton, too, secretes sperm imagery in his presidential portraits. Maybe we should add the artist to the list of candidates to paint Trump for the Smithsonian?

McNaughton’s website has a whole page dedicated to Hannity’s coverage of his work, which dates back to 2012.


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