Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a 2016 GOP presidential candidate who’s currently surging in polls six weeks ahead of the first primary contests, fired back at a Washington Post cartoonist for mocking his daughters Caroline and Catherine.
“Classy,” Cruz tweeted in response, obviously sarcastically.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) December 22, 2015
“Stick w/ attacking me–Caroline & Catherine are out of your league,” Cruz added.
The Post cartoonist, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ann Telnaes, drew up a Christmas-themed cartoon where the senator’s 5 and 7 year-old daughters are portrayed as monkeys on a leash. Meanwhile, Cruz himself is portrayed wearing a Santa Claus suit holding a crank music box to which the girls’ leashes are attached. Cruz’s wife and the girls’ mother, Heidi, is not in the cartoon.
Telnaes–who won the Pulitzer Prize drawing cartoons mocking Republicans during the 2000 presidential election recount controversy–wrote a lengthy diatribe attempting to explain why she abandoned journalistic norms to attack Caroline, 7, and Catherine, 5.
“There is an unspoken rule in editorial cartooning that a politician’s children are off-limits,” Telnaes admits. “People don’t get to choose their family members so obviously it’s unfair to ridicule kids for their parent’s behavior while in office or on the campaign trail- besides, they’re children. There are plenty of adults in the political world who act childish, so there is no need for an editorial cartoonist to target actual children.”
At that point, she tried explaining why she was breaking the rules. Her argument centers around the belief that Cruz–the senator and candidate–includes his daughters on the campaign trail and in some videos from his campaign.
Ted Cruz has put his children in a political ad- don't start screaming when editorial cartoonists draw them as well. https://t.co/7hafBacOiK
— Ann Telnaes (@AnnTelnaes) December 22, 2015
“I’ve kept to that rule, except when the children are adults themselves or choose to indulge in grown-up activities (as the Bush twins did during the George W Bush presidency),” Telnaes wrote. “But 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.”