That Time Maurice Sendak Said He Wanted to Kill Bush and Cheney and Blew Up the Internet

In late 2011, Gary Groth, founder and president of Fantagraphics sat down with legendary Where the Wild Things Are creator Maurice Sendak for a lengthy, career-spanning interview for The Comics Journal.

During that interview, Sendak said the following:

SENDAK: Bush was president, I thought, “Be brave. Tie a bomb to your shirt. Insist on going to the White House. And I wanna have a big hug with the vice president, definitely. And his wife, and the president, and his wife, and anybody else that can fit into the love hug.”

GROTH: A group hug.

SENDAK: And then we’ll blow ourselves up, and I’d be a hero. [Groth laughs.] To hell with the kiddie books. He killed Bush. He killed the vice president. Oh my God.

GROTH: I would have been willing to forgo this interview. [Sendak laughs.]

SENDAK: You would have forgotten about it. It would have been a very brave and wonderful thing. But I didn’t do it; I didn’t do it.

On May 8, 2012, Sendak passed away following a severe stroke in Danbury Hospital in Connecticut.

On May 14, 2012, The Comics Journal website posted a preview of the interview which will be published in issue #302 of the print edition of the long-running journal. The preview featured Sendak's incendiary remarks.

On June 25, at 2:05pm, more than a month after Sendak's quote was posted on, ABC News picked up the story.

On June 25, at 2:06pm, the internet blew up.

From the comment section of the ABC News article:

Marsha Marsha: what???????? Killing or even talking or even conidering killing a US president is treason!!! I Am a liberal and this talk and giving one ounce of air time or space to this topic is highly offensive!!!!! ABC Take this off your page! How dare you give voice to such things!!!! We do NOT talk of ANY president of the USA that way!!! SHAME ON YOU!

jrobinson: Typical liberal hatred. What else is new? These are the same folk who fantasized for 8 years about torturing, imprisoning, and/or killing Bush… then lectured us on the “new tone” when that Leftist crazy person shot Giffords. They have no shame, They have no conscience.

Joinamerica: Leftists are bonafide nutcases. And telling young children that they don’t have to be afraid of anything that looks dangerous, is just as misguided. Which is the message of “Where the Wild Things Are”.

When grown, the children who were raised by leftist philosophy tell us, not to worry about Muslim’s/Sharia Law. And not to worry about the gangs that plague our inner cities. And not to worry about the cost of unrestricted illegal immigration, etc. etc. etc.

grundoon2: Paula’s right. Leave it up. It’s a good example of the fact that liberalism is a mental disease. The neat thing about it is the old SOB paid for his evilness by dying from a stroke. May he not RIP.

Redneck Flyboy: Typical conservative to call liberalism a disease, or that it’s typical liberalism to want to assassinate the president. How ridiculous can you people be? I’d be willing to bet that Marsha Marsha isn’t really a liberal either. Why are you people so distraught over this article? Why is it okay for one man, a man who lied to the American people so he could go to war, to earn the protection from his title? How many tens of thousands of innocent people would have lived had it not been for Bush and Cheney’s war? Would I advocate killing the POTUS? Never. But can I see how he is in the chain of command for possible targets? Certainly. He is soldier # 1. We didn’t hesitate to try and take out the Pres’ of other countries that we have found less than agreeable to American policies. I fail to see how Bush is exempt from being a target just because he is the POTUS. Of course, the Secret Service understands this as well, otherwise why so much security? Don’t be so self-righteous.

From Twitter:

From the comment section of the TCJ post:

Desert Eagle .50: Leftists are pathetic. If we’d said the same thing about Dear Leader Obama you sissies would be demanding the Secret Service investigate.

Here’s the bottom line. I don’t care if you hate Bush, or Obama, or the wars they started. YOU DO NOT joke about assassinating the president of the United States.

Our society is circling the drain, and people like you are filling the bowl.

I am a pole (and so can you): Maurice Sendack is freakin’ awesome! Show the dead guy some respect. He was only joking, and I know many republicans who have made the same jokes about Obama

In an article on, Eric Reynolds, associate publisher at Fantagraphics said:

Anyone who has watched Sendak's infamous interview on the 'Colbert Report' (or read his books, for that matter), should recognize that not only was he cranky, he had a razor-sharp wit and a very dark sense of humor. He was 83 years old when he gave this interview [to Groth]. He was at the point in his life where he clearly didn't give a damn about propriety; he could speak his mind and clearly enjoyed provocation. I see these comments as part and parcel of his personality, not as a legitimate, actionable, treasonous threat.

Maybe a joke. Maybe an actual threat. Maybe an example of the inherent evilness of liberals. Maybe a rally cry for the toppling of a corrupt leader. Maybe the ramblings of an old grouch. Who knows? Sendak isn't around to ask anymore. But there is ONE thing you CAN know for absolute certainty; it took ABC News one month and eleven days to pick up on this story. One month and eleven days.

Don't feed the trolls.