Ann Telnaes' Ted Cruz and Daughters Cartoon
Artist: Ann Telnaes
Date of Action: December 22, 2015
Region: North America
Location: Washington, D.C., United States
Confronting Bodies: Ted Cruz 2016 Presidential Campaign, The Washington Post
Description of Artwork: Ann Telnaes, a former winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning, created a cartoon for The Washington Post that featured Republican Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz and his daughters. Cruz, dressed as Santa Claus, operates an organ grinder leashed to two dancing monkeys. The cartoon was posted to Twitter by Telnaes with the text, "Ted Cruz uses his kid as political props."
The cartoon references a campaign ad featuring Cruz, his wife, and his two daughters styled as an infomercial for Christmas books with political topics, such as "Auditing St. Nick" and "How ObamaCare Stole Christmas." His daughter Caroline reads from "The Grinch who Lost Her Emails," and his daughter Caroline asks him to read "The Senator Who Saved Christmas."
Telnaes published the work with an explanation, stating, "When a politician uses his children as political props, as Ted Cruz recently did in his Christmas parody video in which his eldest daughter read (with her father’s dramatic flourish) a passage of an edited Christmas classic, then I figure they are fair game."
The Incident: In response to the cartoon, Ted Cruz tweeted, "Classy. @washingtonpost makes fun of my girls. Stick w/ attacking me--Caroline & Catherine are out of your league," and posted a link to Telnaes' cartoon. He told reporters,"Not much ticks me off, but making fun of my girls? That will do it. Don't mess with my kids. Don't mess with Marco's kids. Don't mess with Hillary's kids. Don't mess with anybody's kids."
Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, other candidates for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination, also tweeted against the ad.
Results of Incident: On Tuesday evening, December 22, 2015, The Washington Post removed the cartoon from its website. Editor Fred Hiatt published a note on the website, noting, "It’s generally been the policy of our editorial section to leave children out of it. I failed to look at this cartoon before it was published. I understand why Ann thought an exception to the policy was warranted in this case, but I do not agree."
Ted Cruz released a fundraising letter using the incident to try and raise $1 million for his campaign. He also released a cartoon depicting Hillary Clinton walking two Dachsunds labeled "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post."