Ted Cruz Defends Candidates' Children as Off Limits: 'Don't Mess With Our Kids'

The Washington Post took down a cartoon depicting Cruz's children.

December 23, 2015, 11:32 AM

TULSA, Okla.— -- Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz today addressed the Washington Post cartoon depicting his daughters as monkeys, saying it angered him and that kids are off limits.

"You know, I have to admit yesterday when I saw that cartoon, not much ticks me off but making fun of my girls, that'll do it," Cruz said during a campaign event in Tulsa, Oklahoma. "That tweet that I sent, I typed it out on my iPhone and listen, all of us learned in kindergarten, don't hit little girls. It's not complicated. Don't make fun of a five-year-old girl and a seven-year-old girl."

On Tuesday, The Washington Post published a cartoon that depicted Cruz as Santa with an organ grinder and his daughters, Caroline and Catherine, as monkeys. Cruz voiced his anger about the cartoon with a tweet to The Washington Post saying, ”Stick w/ attacking me--Caroline & Catherine are out of your league.”

Ann Telnaes, who created the cartoon, said she viewed the children as “fair game” because they’d been used as “political props” by their dad. The Washington Post ultimately took the cartoon down.

Last night, Cruz’s campaign issued a fundraising email with the subject line, “They attacked my children." The campaign encouraged supporters to make an “emergency contribution” to help him fight back.

Today in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Cruz said he appreciated that The Washington Post took the cartoon down.

"Folks want to attack me, knock yourself out. That's part of the process. I signed up for that. That's fine, but my girls didn't sign up for that," Cruz said.

Cruz thanked GOP rivals Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Donald Trump for coming to his defense.

"Marco has reached out and publicly supported me. Jeb has reached out and publicly supported me. Donald Trump just tweeted out and publicly supported me," he said. "You know I have appreciated that. There ought to be unanimity and you know what, there shouldn't be a partisan line. It should be true for both Democrats and Republicans. We ought to agree, leave our kids alone. Let's argue about marginal tax rates. Let's argue about policy but don't be attacking five-year-old girls."

Cruz added, "Don't mess with our kids. Don't mess with my kids. Don't mess with Marco's kids. Don't mess with Hillary's kids. Don't mess with anybody's kids."

Cruz’s family has joined him at times on the campaign trail. Most recently, his girls and wife accompanied him in Alabama last week.

"The single hardest part of the campaign is being away from my daughters, is getting up and getting on an airplane and leaving and not being able to kiss my daughters goodnight, not being able to read them a bedtime story,” Cruz said in Oklahoma today.

ABC News' Alana Abramson contributed to this report.

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