Washington Post pulls cartoon depicting daughters of Republican Ted Cruz as monkeys

US Senator Ted Cruz stands on stage with his wife Heidi and their daughters Catherine and Caroline, as he announces his candidacy for president in Virginia in March.
US Senator Ted Cruz stands on stage with his wife Heidi and their daughters Catherine and Caroline, as he announces his candidacy for president in Virginia in March.PHOTO: REUTERS

ASHINGTON  - The Washington Post pulled a cartoon from its site Tuesday that depicted Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz's young daughters as monkeys, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

Although Cruz, a senator from Texas, angrily denounced the cartoon on Twitter - in a tweet that included the cartoon - he seized on the opportunity to use it in an email that sought to bring in US$1 million in contributions to his political campaign..

The cartoon was drawn by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Ann Telnaes. The Post replaced it with a message of explanation from Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt.

"It's generally been the policy of our editorial section to leave children out of it," he wrote. "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."

Telnaes initially explained her reason for putting the Cruz children in a cartoon in a post that was published along with it.

"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," she wrote.

She declined further comment on Wednesday, but was unapologetic on Twitter. "Ted Cruz has put his children in a political ad - don't start screaming when editorial cartoonists draw them as well," she wrote there.

The Cruz campaign released the TV commercial last week. It shows him reading his daughters politically themed Christmas stories, like "How Obamacare Stole Christmas" and "Rudolph the Underemployed Reindeer." Catherine is 5, and Caroline is 7.

"I knew I'd be facing attacks from day one of my campaign, but I never expected anything like this," Cruz wrote in the fundraising email, the New York Times said. "Help me send a message to the Washington Post. My daughters are NOT FAIR GAME!"

On a campaign swing Wednesday, Cruz told reporters, "I have to admit yesterday when I saw that cartoon - not much ticks me off - but making fun of my girls, that'll do it."

He added: "All of us learned in kindergarten - don't hit little girls. It's not complicated. Don't make fun of a 5-year-old girl and a 7-year-old girl."

Some of Cruz's opponents in the Republican primary also voiced support on Twitter.