After Trump urged his supporters Wednesday to march on the Capitol, members of far-right groups rioted inside the building during the presidential election certification — the first time “the people’s house” has been overrun since the War of 1812. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died amid the attempted insurrection.
“The images broadcast from the Capitol were themselves so grotesque that we were grateful to receive sketches by artists, such as the one by Edel Rodriguez, that [marked] the moment with simplicity and sobriety,” says New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly.
“The better images,” she notes, “are the ones that capture an emotion — here sadness, a sense of tragedy.”
“The events that unfolded at the Capitol felt like the death of a family member,” says Rodriguez, who was born in Cuba in 1971 and remembers living under the Castro regime. “I come from a country that was forever changed by a coup.”
Rodriguez came to the United States with his family during the 1980 Mariel boatlift and became an American citizen at 19, embracing his new nation’s democratic ideals.
“To an immigrant like myself, America is a dream,” he says. “It is a dream that one struggles and perseveres to attain. These actions by the president and his supporters shatter that dream.”
Rodriguez’s New Yorker art is his latest prominent magazine cover with a political theme; his depictions of Trump for Time — including “Meltdown” — and Der Spiegel went viral.
Mouly, who was born in France, says Rodriguez’s New Yorker cover captures a common emotion after the rioting: “It seemed as if everyone had just experienced a personal loss. It made me realize the depth of patriotic feeling in so many Americans.”