AUSTIN -- Gov. Rick Perry is expressing "disgust and disappointment" at a cartoon in a California newspaper that depicts him boasting about business booming in Texas just before a major explosion.
The cartoon in The Sacramento Bee shows Perry crowing that "Business is Booming" and flanked by sings saying "Low Tax" "Low Regs!" The next panel reads "Boom!" as an explosion engulfs the area behind the governor.
An explosion last week at a fertilizer plant in West killed 14 people and injured 200 others.
In a letter to the Bee's editor Friday, Perry said he wouldn't stand for "someone mocking this tragedy." He demanded an immediate apology for the newspaper's "detestable attempt at satire."
See Perry's full statement below:
It was with extreme disgust and disappointment I viewed your recent cartoon. While I will always welcome healthy policy debate, I won't stand for someone mocking the tragic deaths of my fellow Texans and our fellow Americans. Additionally, publishing this on the very day our state and nation paused to honor and mourn those who died only compounds the pain and suffering of the many Texans who lost family and friends in this disaster. The Sacramento Bee owes the community of West, Texas an immediate apology for your detestable attempt at satire.
Sincerely, Rick Perry, Governor
Fellow Republican and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst called for the firing of the artist, political cartoonist Jack Ohman.
Ohman responded to criticism over his cartoon Thursday. He said in part:
Gov. Perry's name and the explosion have been linked for several news cycles. I didn't just make this all up. It's out there. There is a rather stunning report about all this on ProPublica, the investigative news website. I invite you to read it.
When I have to come up with these ideas, I can assure you that I am not really deliberately trying to be tasteless. I am not. What I am trying to do is make readers think about an issue in a striking way. I seem to have succeeded in this cartoon, one way or the other.
The question is whether it is tasteless or not.
My answer, respectfully, is that it isn't.