Update: On Thursday, Ted Cruz released a statement after facing severe backlash for traveling to Cancun while his home state was in crisis. The Texas Senator implied that the reason he abandoned Texans was because of his daughters. "With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends," he wrote. "Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon." Cruz also said he wanted to "get to the bottom" of what was happening in Texas, despite seemingly having done nothing in the five days where snowstorms and widespread blackouts have ravaged the city.
This story was originally published on Thursday February 18, 2021 at 11 a.m.
As Texans cope with a deadly, catastrophic winter storm, Senator Ted Cruz is receiving criticism for reportedly leaving his home state and traveling to a Cancun resort. On Wednesday night, photos of Cruz walking through an airport and boarding a plane spread on Twitter, with some users identifying his mask and pinpointing evidence that the photos were taken that evening. Fox News then confirmed that Cruz had left the country on Thursday morning.
Former MSNBC anchor David Schuster also wrote that he received confirmation Cruz and his family flew to Cancun to stay at a resort. “Cruz seems to believe there isn’t much for him to do in Texas for the millions of fellow Texans who remain without electricity/water and are literally freezing,” Schuster tweeted.
Cruz's choice to flee the country while millions in his home state suffer without heat, water, and power is a self-serving, irresponsible one — but it isn’t surprising. And it isn’t even the most irresponsible, harmful thing he’s done for Texas. Traveling aside, his response to this week’s crisis has been empty.
His once-competitor Beto O’Rourke has been working overtime to organize volunteers and contact tens of thousands of the state’s most vulnerable citizens and offer resources and information. The state’s Democratic Congressional Delegation penned a letter to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) demanding answers. Meanwhile, Cruz is coming under fire for previously mocking California for being “unable to perform even basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity” when they were dealing with rampant wildfires.
In response to the backlash, he just wrote: “I got no defense. A blizzard strikes Texas & our state shuts down. Not good. Stay safe!” And then, apparently, he got on a plane.
It’s alarming that Cruz would leave Texas amid a disaster that could have been prevented by the state’s Republican leadership. But what’s most alarming, really, is that the choice isn’t surprising. This is the man who defended Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud that led to last month’s deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, even after Trump lobbed personal insults at him and his family for years. This is a man who has no qualms about lying, a man who has proven that he cares about issues when he’s the one impacted. Cruz’s actions have hurt Texas, but it isn’t because he left the state — it’s because he’s stayed in power.