After receiving sharp criticism Wednesday for leaving a chaos-ridden Texas to go on vacation in Cancun, Mexico, Sen. Ted Cruz says the poor optics were just an act of fatherly love.
“With school canceled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends,” Cruz said in a statement to multiple media outlets. “Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon.”
Sporting his favorite “come and take it” mask, the junior Texas senator was caught on candid camera at the Houston airport on Wednesday. The viral photos were widely seen as Cruz quite literally abandoning his crucial post at a time when millions of Texans had gone without power or water for days amid freezing temperatures.
“As millions of Texans remain without power and don’t have access to clean water or food, Ted Cruz has fled to Mexico for a beach vacation,” tweeted Rep. Veronica Escobar of El Paso. “We knew he didn’t give a damn about our democracy. Now we know he doesn’t give a damn about Texas families freezing to death.”
In an interview with CNN, Rep. Colin Allred of Dallas said he was shocked by the callousness of Texas leaders including Gov. Greg Abbott who spread lies about renewable energy during the snowstorm.
“We also of course saw our junior senator flying to Mexico for a vacation while the city that he lives in, Houston, is under a boil water notice,” Allred said.
Texas Democrats also renewed their calls for Cruz to resign or be expelled from office.
“Ted Cruz jetting off to Mexico while Texans remain dying in the cold isn’t surprising but it is deeply disturbing and disappointing,” said Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa in a statement. “Cruz is emblematic of what the Texas Republican Party and its leaders have become: weak, corrupt, inept, and self-serving politicians who don’t give a damn about the people they were elected to represent.”
On Wednesday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas reported that 2.7 million homes were still without power. That number dropped to around 400,000 on Thursday, according to utilities tracker PowerOutage.us. ERCOT has warned that some level of rotating outages may still be needed over the next couple of days to keep the grid stable.
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org