WASHINGTON • It's a line that staff and syndicated political cartoonists rarely cross.
You don't parody or lampoon the children of political figures if they are minors, the common belief goes - much in the same way that White House correspondents generally don't write about the personal lives of underage members of the first family.
Last week, however, veteran cartoonist Chris Britt decided to cross that line with an image that since Sunday has sparked a blast of sharp blowback. His Sept 28 cartoon, distributed by the Creators Syndicate, depicts 10-year-old Liza praying about her father, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Kneeling bedside, she says: "Dear God, forgive my angry, lying, alcoholic father for sexually assaulting Dr Ford."
The cartoon uses as fodder the opening statement by Mr Kavanaugh during his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Sept 27, when he recounted that Liza had said to her mother that "we should pray for the woman", Dr Christine Blasey Ford.
Some social media users have called the cartoon "horrific", "unconscionable" and "beyond disgusting".
The cartoon was posted to Mr Britt's Facebook page, where the liberal cartoonist responded to some critics before deactivating his account. He told The Washington Post in an interview that he had received thousands of comments attacking his cartoon.
"Kavanaugh is the one who ushered his own daughter into the national conversation by telling us his story" about her prayer, Mr Britt said, defending the cartoon. "The cartoon is not about his daughter - it's about Brett Kavanaugh's possible heavy drinking, his anger and his possibly sexually assaulting Dr Ford."
Mr Kavanaugh has denied any wrongdoing.