Politico cartoonist Matt Wuerker started the day with his employer sharing his work on Hurricane Harvey and spent the rest of it weathering a different kind of storm.
One tweet was all it took by Politico on Wednesday for backlash to begin pouring in after its illustrator depicted Texas flood victims praising “angels” sent by God while members of the U.S. Coast Guard mentioned their role on behalf of the federal government.
Hotair, Twitchy, The Washington Examiner, and a host of media professionals responded, which prompted Politico to delete the tweet soon afterward.
Mr. Wuerker defended his work via an interview with The Washington Examiner later in the day.
“As a political cartoonist, I try to get people to think — to consider the ironies and subtleties of the world we live in,” he told the newspaper. “This cartoon went with an extreme example of anti-government types — Texas Secessionists —benefitting from the heroism of federal government rescuers. It of course was not aimed at Texans in general, any more than a cartoon about extremists marching in Charlottesville could be construed as a poke at all Virginians. My heart is with all the victims of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction and those risking their lives to save others.”
The artist’s rationale did not convince Hotair’s Ed Morrissey.
“In his usual sledgehammer style, he includes a Gadsden flag to slam conservatives, Confederate imagery to smear Texans as racists, and then also includes a gratuitous slap at people of faith,” the blogger wrote. “It’s a smug, arrogant, and utterly tone-deaf attack on hurricane refugees in the midst of their crisis, exploiting their tragedy to ride his hobby horses all over their pain.”
“Love your hot take on Texas as people here lose everything or drown,” tweeted NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch.
Mortgage agencies said earlier in the week that Hurricane Harvey is the most powerful storm to hit Texas in the last 50 years. More than 200,000 homes have been hit, and the flooding has affected one-fifth of U.S. oil-refining capacity.
At least 28 people have died in storm-related deaths as of Wednesday.