Politico’s cartoonist apparently thinks Texans rescued from flooding are backwoods secessionists and delusional religious believers who don’t appreciate the U.S. government.
On Wednesday, during the worst flooding in recent Texan history — which has already claimed the lives of at least 21 people — Matt Wuerker drew a depiction of Texans being rescued by federal officials that many found deeply offensive during a time of tragedy.
The cartoon depicted the Coast Guard rescuing a Texan wearing a shirt that depicted the Confederate battle flag. His home has a sign attached to the roof, the word "Secede" written over the Lone Star State flag.
A Gadsden flag with the famous Revolutionary War logo — "Don't Tread on Me" — can also been seen.
The man thanks God for the Coast Guard helicopters, mistaking them for angels "sent by God."
The Politico cartoon follows some rather predictable commentary from liberals who dislike Texas for its solid red-state status and conservative values. On Tuesday, the University of Tampa fired a professor for tweeting that the deadly Hurricane Harvey was "instant karma" for troglodyte conservatives.
The cartoon brought immediate backlash.
"Love your hot take on Texas as people here lose everything or drown," tweeted Dana Loesch, a Texan and an NRA spokeswoman.
"Hard to see any justification for being so condescending to people who are suffering," wrote Sarah Westwood, a White House reporter for the Washington Examiner.
"When the going gets tough, some pitch in. And some, like (Matt Wuerker) choose to make fun of a state and a religion while he sits on his ass," said Jesse Kelly, a Houston-based writer for The Resurgent.
Wuerker, the longtime political cartoonist who frequently skewers conservatives (and much more harshly than he does liberals), sought to explain the image in an email to LifeZette.
“As a political cartoonist, I try to get people to think — to consider the ironies and subtleties of the world we live in," Wuerker said, "This cartoon went with an extreme example of anti-government types — Texas Secessionists — benefiting from the heroism of federal government rescuers. My heart is with all the victims of Hurricane Harvey's destruction and those risking their lives to save others. We are all rooting for Texas.”
The cartoonist also took to Twitter to explain the cartoon.
"Respectfully, it's making fun of the Secessionist movement," Wuerker explained in a tweet, although it's not clear the secession movement in Texas right now is all that strong. "Not at all aimed at all Texans."
A woman informed Wuerker on Twitter that "the (Lone Star) flag is not obvious, so it ends up reading like a swipe at people of faith."
Wuerker's meek and somewhat condescending reply: "Guess I should have made that big Secede sign on the house bigger still."
(photo credit, homepage image of Wuerker: VOA News; photo credit, article image of cartoon: Matt Wuerker)