Beto O’Rourke, AOC step up while Abbott, Cruz fail Texas

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Shortly after returning from an overnight trip abroad during a pandemic and deadly weather emergency, Ted Cruz spent his evening doing roughly what you would expect: going on television to try to massage the truth of his embarrassing blunder.

Within hours of touching back down in Houston, Cruz welcomed a crew from ABC 13 in Houston into his home for a lengthy interview and later appeared remotely on Hannity to spread misinformation about renewable energy. The lies were such a stinker that Lite Gov. Dan Patrick, strangely silent and absent during this crisis, appeared on Fox News shortly after Cruz and, admitted he didn’t think Cruz knew what he was talking about.

Governor Greg Abbott appeared angrier at yesterday’s press availability than he had earlier in the week but still faces withering criticism for his shoddy preparation for and response to the weather and energy emergency still ensnaring the state.

Meanwhile, thankfully, Beto O’Rourke was doing what we’ve come to expect from him: he organized a massive groundswell of volunteer support to conduct virtual phone banks that contacted over 784,000 Texans to make sure they knew vital information and could connect with important resources.

O’Rourke didn’t limit his outreach to his existing supporters. He pitched ways to help on national television, condemned Abbott for his callous response, and then dutifully got back to work making sure people left out in the cold had whatever help he could muster as a private citizen. 

It was a powerful testament to the spirit of Texans, who have endured more crises in the last few years than most states have in decades. Stories about neighbors opening up their homes, cooking meals, even boiling snow for their friends and family members to help get through this are heartwarming reminders of who we are as a state and also infuriating reminders of how badly our state’s government has failed.

That juxtaposition played out while Republican elected officials across the state, including Cruz, continued to lie about renewable energy sources in an attempt to create a scapegoat to draw attention away from the thermal sources of energy that failed our state so badly. Texas Republicans have delighted in disparaging the Green New Deal and New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez all week, and AOC wasn’t interested in sitting on the sidelines.

Indeed, Ocasio-Cortez pushed out a fundraising ask to her social media followers and within hours had raised in excess of $1 million for relief efforts supporting impacted Texans. She is also coming down to Houston this Saturday, where she’ll join Rep. Sylvia Garcia to highlight what’s happening on the ground here in Texas.

As of this writing, the total raised for relief efforts by Abbott, Patrick, Cruz, Cornyn, and Paxton combined remains $0.

Photo: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons and Franmarie Metzler; U.S. House Office of Photography / Wikimedia Commons

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