Two Times Square Characters Bridge a Political Divide

Isabelle Bousquette | Tuesday, November 3, 2020


After meeting with President Donald Trump in 2017 to discuss voter suppression, then civil rights attorney Theodore Mukamal, AKA Tootsie Warhol, decided he needed to do more to stop Trump from winning the next election. The former lawyer turned full-time political performance artist has stood in Times Square dressed as Trump for the past month with a cardboard “Vote Trump Out” sign strapped around his neck, taking photos with tourists, and urging voters to cast their ballots for Presidential Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Robert Burck (AKA The Naked Cowboy) has been a fixture of New York City for over twenty years. Although liberal with the amount of clothes he chooses to wear, Burck’s political opinions veer conservative. He famously ran for President of the United States in 2012 as a member of the Tea Party. Now, his guitar and his tighty whities are branded with Trump’s name.

Still, on Election Day, in an era of extreme political polarization, Mukamal and Burck manage to find common ground at the intersection of Broadway and 45th Street.

With additional reporting by Grace Benninghoff.


This story is the work of students at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Other news organizations are welcome to publish this story as long as they adhere to these guidelines.