Will Senator Ted Cruz be known as “Flyin ‘Ted” now?
Cruz was outraged Thursday that he flew from Houston to Cancun, Mexico on a family vacation, despite millions of his Texans froze over a major winter storm and widespread power outages.
Thousands of Twitter posts blew up Cruz for the out-of-date outing after photos of him were shared online at a Houston airport and on a plane Wednesday afternoon. The Texas Democratic Party called, among other things, for Cruz to step down from the Senate.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) carries his luggage at Cancun International Airport before boarding his plane back to the United States in Cancun, Mexico on February 18, 2021.
Stringer | Reuters
After the senator’s staff refused to confirm his whereabouts for hours, Cruz eventually returned to Cancun, where temperatures were mid-1980s.
He said his two daughters, 12 and 10 years old, asked him and his wife to take them to Mexico after the Cruz family themselves lost power.
Cruz then got on a flight alone on Thursday afternoon and flew back to Houston, where temperatures were just above freezing.
Images allegedly showing Ted Cruz aboard a United Airlines flight from Houston, TX to Cancun, Mexico.
Source: @Ian McBride via Twitter
“Texas is experiencing horrific storms and millions of Texans have lost electricity, lost heat, and been injured, and our family was among them,” Cruz told reporters before getting on the plane home while wearing a mask with the state flag pattern on it Texas wore.
“We had no heat and no electricity and yesterday my daughters asked if they could go on a trip with some friends and [Cruz’s wife] Heidi and I agreed and I flew down with them last night and dropped them off, and now I’m going back to Texas. “
Cruz’s suggestion that he only flown to Mexico to stay there is family and departure in less than a full day. The fact that he didn’t book his return ticket to Texas until 6 a.m. on Thursday has been disproved with knowledge of the situation, according to a source who spoke to NBC News.
That source said Cruz was originally booked to return from Mexico on Saturday.
Cruz said that when he returned to the US, he would “keep working to restore electricity.”
“What is happening in Texas is unacceptable and it hurts a lot of Texans,” said Cruz.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks to the media at Cancun International Airport before boarding his plane back to the United States in Cancun, Mexico on February 18, 2021.
Stringer | Reuters
Cruz arrived at Cancun Airport with a man wearing a polo shirt that indicated he was an employee of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Cancun.
This man was with Cruz as he went to his departure gate.
The Ritz-Carlton website states it is “a five-star oceanfront retreat in the heart of Cancun”.
“Perfectly located on the Yucatan Peninsula, The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun seamlessly blends coastal luxury with the region’s rich cultural heritage,” reads the place.
“Immerse yourself in sensory experiences ranging from cooking classes to poolside mixology classes. This five-star hotel also features iconic restaurants, native spa rituals and a 27,000 square foot conference center.”
“Soak up the sun on Mexico’s best beach,” says the website. Four-person rooms in the hotel cost a minimum of $ 410 per night according to the reservation system.
Hotel Ritz Carlton, Cancun
Peter Bischoff | Getty Images
Two days before the trip, Cruz retweeted a post from the Federal Emergency Management Agency saying, “Are you looking for a place to stay warm in this freezing weather?” The post included links to heat centers in Texas.
A source close to Cruz said the senator took a Covid-19 test under federal health guidelines and received a negative result before his scheduled return flight to the United States.
In a statement before going home, Cruz said, “My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to investigate what is happening in Texas.”
“We want our electricity back, our water and our homes warm. My team and I will continue to use all of our resources to keep Texans up to date and safe.”
Images allegedly showing Ted Cruz with Heidi Cruz (circled) on board a United Airlines flight from Houston, TX to Cancun, Mexico.
Source: @Ian McBride via Twitter
A Houston Police Department spokesman told NBC News that Cruz staff asked the department on Wednesday afternoon to assist Cruz with his arrival and movements through George Bush Intercontinental Airport, where a scheduled flight to Cancun at 4:44 p.m. local time was planned.
The Dallas Morning News reported that the mask seen on the Senator that day was the same one Cruz used during President Joe Biden’s inauguration last month and during the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in the Senate wore last week.
The mask features the image of a black cannon and the words “Come and Take It,” a design reminiscent of flags Texans used during the 1835 revolution against Mexico – a provocative choice given the target, “the newspaper said.
The Texas Democratic Party castigated Cruz in a statement calling for him to step down or be expelled from the Senate.
“In the middle of one of the worst crises in Texas history, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz flew to Cancun, Mexico. His constituents in Texas remain trapped in the cold with no clean water, heat, or hot food. 37 of them have died, “the party said in a statement.
“This is what we expected the Texas Republican leadership to do. They are self-serving, incompetent, corrupt politicians who believe that in office they are entitled to do what they want.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki cut a sharp crack in Cruz when asked about his trip by reporters at a press conference.
“I have no information on the exact location of Senator Ted Cruz or anyone in the White House, but our focus is on working directly with leadership in Texas and the surrounding states in dealing with the winter storm and the crisis in hand,” said Psaki.
“We anticipate that this will be the focus of anyone in the state or surrounding states elected to represent them,” she added.
Former MP Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat who lost a narrow Senate election to Cruz in 2018, noted during an interview Thursday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that Cruz “is on vacation in Cancun, when the people of the US are literally” freeze indicate that he was chosen to represent and serve. “
Julian Castro, former San Antonio mayor who served as secretary for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, tweeted, “In crises like this, Congressmen play a vital role in connecting their constituents to emergency services and aid. “
Cruz “should be calling federal agencies, not a trip to Mexico,” Castro wrote.
On Tuesday, just a day before he flew to Mexico, Cruz was toasted on Twitter and elsewhere for making fun of California’s blackouts months ago.
In response, Cruz tweeted that day, “I have no defense. A blizzard hits Texas and our state is closed. Not good.”
In December, Cruz criticized Democratic officials for failing to adhere to their own restrictions on coronavirus pandemics, including Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin, Texas, who himself flew to Mexico for his daughter’s wedding in November despite urging residents of his city to stay at home.
“Hypocrites. Complete and utter hypocrites,” wrote Cruz in his December 2 tweet.
Photos of Cruz without a mask on an American Airlines flight and at an airport gate were widely reported in July.
The person who took the photos and worked for the Democratic Congressional Campaigns Committee noted that American Airlines guidelines require travelers to wear face covers.
Cruz’s spokeswoman at the time claimed that Cruz temporarily removed his mask to drink coffee.
While taking on Cruz in the 2016 Republican nomination contests, Trump regularly used the contemptuous nickname “Lyin ‘Ted” when speaking of him.
Cruz later became a passionate Trump supporter and tried unsuccessfully last month to get Congress to reject confirmation of Biden’s victories on electoral college in several states.
That verification process was interrupted on January 6th by the invasion of the Capitol complex by thousands of Trump supporters. Five people, including a Capitol Police Office, died as a result of the uprising.
– CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.