News & Politics

Tom Toles Will Leave the Washington Post

Photograph by Evy Mages

Washington Post editorial cartoonist Tom Toles will retire from the Washington Post on November 1, Post staffers learned in a memo Thursday.

Toles moved to the Post from the Buffalo News in 2002, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1990. Toles “set an almost unimaginable standard of consistent excellence,” editorial page editor Fred Hiatt wrote in the memo, pasted below.

His last year at the paper was marked by a bizarre article the Post published about a party Toles threw in 2018, which a guest attended in blackface. Toles said he didn’t recognize the guest, Sue Schafer, who explained she was mocking Megyn Kelly, when another guest who was offended by the incident emailed him this past June, then told Post reporters she was a family friend and that he “didn’t recognize any bad intent.” Schafer lost her job as a government contractor as the Post reported out the story, whose very existence baffled some media observers.

Hiatt says the Post plans to hire a replacement for Toles.

We’re sorry to announce that Tom Toles has decided to retire. Since 2002, Toles has been drawing six trenchant cartoons a week for The Post, following 19 years at the Buffalo News and nine at the Buffalo Courier-Express. His last cartoon will be on Nov. 1.

Fittingly, as Herblock’s successor, Tom won the Herblock Cartooning Prize in 2011, and he has been recognized with numerous other awards, including a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1990. We will greatly miss Toles’s mordant skewering of environmental malpractice, presidential arrogance and Washington hypocrisies and pomposities of all varieties. Drafting four penciled sketches a day, five days a week, week in and week out, Tom set an almost unimaginable standard of consistent excellence.

We hope to find a replacement for Toles soon. In the meantime we are fortunate to be able to continue to publish the award-winning work of Ann Telnaes, our other regular cartoonist.



Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.