Politico’s staff cartoonist was heavily criticized Wednesday for a drawing that appeared to mock victims of Tropical Storm Harvey as hypocrites who opposed the federal government despite depending upon it for their survival. 

The drawing by Matt Wuerker depicted a Texan in a ten-gallon hat and a Confederate flag shirt being airlifted from a flooded home bearing a sign saying “secede.” The man praises his rescuers as “Angels! Sent by God” before one of them corrects him: “Er, actually Coast Guard … sent by the government.”

Politico posted the cartoon from its main Twitter account Wednesday afternoon, but later deleted the tweet as the backlash rolled in. 

Washington Examiner writer Becket Adams called the cartoon “the grossest thing online this week” and “so ill-advised.”

Many of the responses called it an unfair characterization of Texans, Christians, and residents of Houston and Harris County, where the worst of the flooding took place. 

Several Twitter users pointed out that Harris County voted heavily Democratic in the 2016 presidential election.

Wuerker himself took to Twitter to defend his cartoon, saying he meant to mock the Texas successionist movement and not all Harvey victims. Responding to criticism that the cartoon looked like a swipe at people of faith, Wuerker responded “Guess I should have made that big Secede sign on the house bigger still.”

 

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