The Washington Post has come under fire from conservative circles after publishing a cartoon by editorial cartoonist Ann Telnaes depicting the 100 or so state attorneys general and members of Congress who she says “collaborated with President Trump in his attempt to subvert the Constitution and stay in office.”
Opinion: All the Republican rats https://t.co/yppouriMD7— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) December 19, 2020
The cartoon, published online in colour and in black and white in the Sunday print edition of the Post, features a range of high-profile names, from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan, with 18 Republican attorney generals depicted as large, black rats. House lawmakers, meanwhile are depicted as smaller, grey rats.
The rat trope has a long history of use to depict a seditious, unhygienic, inhuman foe, usually threatening a society from within, or in the form of immigrants from outside.
Fox News contributor Steve Milloy tweeted a side-by-side comparison of the WaPo cartoon to a cartoon from Nazi Germany, with the tweet receiving thousands of retweets and likes.
Others echoed the sentiment, with one user suggesting that Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels “would have been proud of your visceral hatred".
Could you possibly have been more disgusting, or fascist-like, in your “cartoon?” Goebbels would have been proud of your visceral hatred. You and the WaPo deserve one another. pic.twitter.com/0Z9Jg2NKpc— Kenneth Currie (@AGWdenier7) December 20, 2020
lol. Using the court system to challenge voting irregularities is not "subverting democracy." In fact, it is precisely the opposite.— John G. Mateus, Esq. (@MateusLaw) December 21, 2020
But it is noted how you support dehumanizing anyone supporting those challenges as rats. Just like the Nazis did. https://t.co/emtV4usxz6
How ugly and hateful this woman’s work is. It’s sad that a major newspaper in this country has been reduced to printing cartoons like hers.— Leslie O'Brien (@lwobrien26) December 20, 2020
“It’s the top of the slippery slope to sanctioning violence against the group who have been demonised,” one concerned user wrote.
It's the top of the slippery slope to sanctioning violence against the group who have been demonised— peter o donovan (@peterodonovan7) December 20, 2020
Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona decried the cartoon, accusing the Democrats and their media allies of losing the “war of ideas” and “resort[ing] to dangerous and despicable personal attacks that purposefully endanger the freedom of their political opponents.”
Telnaes’ followers praised her work, however, accusing conservatives of grasping at straws and a few suggesting the cartoonist deserves another Pulitzer Prize.
I concur.— Paul Reimer (@reimerpaul_paul) December 19, 2020
Notwithstanding last week’s formal Electoral College vote confirming Joe Biden’s victory in the 3 November election, President Trump and his allies have pushed forward with their attempt to challenge the results, filing lawsuits in state courts and the Supreme Court on the basis of alleged mail-in ballot dumps, faulty voting machine results, and other irregularities.
Democrats have also accused Trump of considering overturning election results by force through the introduction of martial law. The President dismissed that suggestion in a tweet Sunday, calling the allegations “fake news.”