The Quad City Times, a major newspaper in Iowa, has officially apologized to Republican primary candidate Vivek Ramaswamy for previously featuring him in a cartoon that depicts GOP voters as racists.
How it started: Although Ramaswamy defended the newspaper’s right to print the cartoon in a tweet last week, the Republican candidate still criticized the action by calling it “shameful.”
“I’ve met with grassroots conservatives across America and never *once* experienced the kind of bigotry that I regularly see from the Left,” Ramaswamy wrote.
About the cartoon: The illustration, which was eventually taken down online after it was published on Wednesday, depicted Ramaswamy at a 2024 presidential campaign rally with a banner behind his podium that says: “Quad City Republicans Welcome Anti-Woke Crusader Vivek Ramaswamy.”
“Hello MAGA friends,” Ramaswamy says to a small crowd in the cartoon. Three people can be seen responding with offensive remarks, such as “Get me a Slushee, Apu,” a reference to the recurring convenient store-owning character of Indian descent on “The Simpsons.”
Another person in the cartoon can be seen yelling at the Indian American entrepreneur-turned-politician, saying, “Show us your birth certificate,” while another person in the crowd calls him a Muslim even though he is a practicing Hindu.
The aftermath: The Quad City Times’ Executive Editor Tom Martin apologized to Ramaswamy, the Indian American community and the newspaper’s readers for the cartoon in an opinion piece published on Friday.
Noting that the Quad City Times has already severed its ties with the artist who created the cartoon, the newspaper said the “offensive material” has been removed from the Quad City Times’ websites and e-editions.
Martin also wrote that “dividing and disparaging with any racist images or rhetoric” does not reflect the ideals or mission of the Quad City Times, adding that the “oversight that allowed it to run is inexcusable.”
Running for president: Ramaswamy is one of two Indian Americans running in the Republican primary, with the other being Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC).