The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

New Yorker cover captures a nation’s mourning after Capitol riot

Edel Rodriguez/New Yorker 2021

Edel Rodriguez tweeted his belief in November, shortly after Election Day: President Trump will “call for a Maga March on Congress on January 6th, the day they officially count electoral votes.”

By Jan. 6, Rodriguez was weighing how to depict the tragic day through art.

His ultimate idea — an American flag at half-staff, backgrounded by such Washington landmarks as the Capitol building in silhouette — has just become his first cover for the New Yorker magazine. His poignant artwork, titled “After the Insurrection,” was chosen because its somber tone reflects this moment in American history.

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.”

Read more:

How cartoonists are capturing the Capitol riot — and the ways Trump provoked it

The best comedy skewering the Trump administration, from Sarah Cooper to John Mulaney

The Jan. 6 insurrection

The report: The Jan. 6 committee released its final report, marking the culmination of an 18-month investigation into the violent insurrection. Read The Post’s analysis about the committee’s new findings and conclusions.

The final hearing: The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol held its final public meeting where members referred four criminal charges against former president Donald Trump and others to the Justice Department. Here’s what the criminal referrals mean.

The riot: On Jan. 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. Five people died on that day or in the immediate aftermath, and 140 police officers were assaulted.

Inside the siege: During the rampage, rioters came perilously close to penetrating the inner sanctums of the building while lawmakers were still there, including former vice president Mike Pence. The Washington Post examined text messages, photos and videos to create a video timeline of what happened on Jan. 6. Here’s what we know about what Trump did on Jan. 6.