WASHINGTON — As three million Texans shivered at the hours of darkness, Sen. Ted Cruz jetted off to Cancun together with his household, outed immediately by fellow vacationers and berated by critics for abandoning constituents throughout an epic statewide energy disaster.
Social media images from Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport and aboard the flight to the sun-drenched seaside resort flourished Wednesday night. By Thursday, when temperatures alongside Mexico’s Caribbean coast had been on observe to hit 83 levels, the pile-on was at full boil.
Detractors dusted off classic Cruz feedback denying the existence of local weather change and decrying Democrats coastal elites who care not a whit for the plight of strange People.
With Cancun, CancunCruz and FlyinTed (an homage to Donald Trump’s “Lyin’ Ted” epithet) trending on-line – together with “Heidi,” as in Heidi Cruz, his spouse – the senator remained uncharacteristically silent on Twitter.
Aides ignored inquiries concerning the uproar the boss’s getaway triggered.
Cruz “is vacationing in Cancun proper now when individuals are actually freezing to demise within the state that he was elected to symbolize and serve,” Beto O’Rourke – the previous El Paso congressman who narrowly misplaced to Cruz in 2018 – chided on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Houston is beneath a tough freeze watch. By Thursday morning, the variety of Texans with out energy had dipped beneath 600,000. And because the relative handful of defenders identified, not like a governor, a senator has no direct accountability for emergency administration.
Nonetheless, Cruz appeared to have purchased a ticket for the Thursday afternoon flight house – chopping the holiday far too brief for a sunburn, but definitely lengthy sufficient to get blistered.
Ted Cruz going to Cancun for trip as his constituents freeze to demise is peak Ted Cruz
In the meantime, Beto O’Rourke is working as arduous as anybody in America to assist the folks of Texas
Considered one of these two males deserves to be an elected official, the opposite a cabana boy at Mar-a-Lago
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) February 18, 2021
The Lincoln Undertaking, an anti-Trump Republican group that has had its personal huge public relations challenges recently amid allegations of sexual harassment by one in all its founders, poked at Cruz by tweeting: “When the going will get robust… head to Cancun, child!”
Invoice Kristol, head of a distinct group of anti-Trump Republican, was so irate he mistakenly accused Cruz of heading to “Canton.”
An administration’s response to an unanticipated occasion might help outline it–eg, air controllers or Katrina. What of Texas? Abbott’s ineffectual, Cruz in Canton–could a robust Biden response be a key second (and do good!)? Deploy army, get W. to mobilize personal sector, and many others.?
— Invoice Kristol (@BillKristol) February 18, 2021
State Rep. Gene Wu, a Houston Democrat, posted a photograph of Cruz boarding the flight and taunted: “Guess which US Senator from Texas flew to Cancun whereas the state was freezing to demise and having to boil water?”
There was little question concerning the Cruzes’ id.
Cruz wore the identical masks he wore throughout President Joe Biden’s inauguration and Trump’s second impeachment trial: grey, with a black cannon and “Come and Take it,” a design paying homage to flags utilized by Texans through the 1835 revolution in opposition to Mexico – a provocative selection, given the vacation spot.
On-line sleuths matched his hairline, glasses, ring and tennis sneakers to earlier images of him.
Photographs put them close to the United Airways gate for the four:10 p.m. flight to Cancun, which landed simply earlier than eight p.m.
Fellow passengers posted selfies from onboard with Cruz behind them, and images simply of him, or of him and Heidi. Some wrote on Fb that they’d spoken with him.
It’s not as if Cruz can stroll by means of a Texas airport unrecognized.
He’s been within the Senate for eight years. He was runner-up for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. His title ID within the state is close to whole; a College of Texas ballot final fall discovered that 96% of Texans had some opinion about him.
Not like, say, Irving congresswoman Beth Van Duyne, who posted a photograph of herself huddling close to a hearth as a result of like tens of millions of different Texans, she had misplaced energy and warmth, Cruz and his household suffered no such challenges which may immediate a visit to hotter climes.
On Monday, Cruz advised conservative discuss present host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo that ”fortunately, my house, we didn’t lose energy. So proper now we’ve received a bunch of the neighborhood youngsters throughout taking part in with our ladies, as a result of their mother and father misplaced energy and our home was fortunate. So we’ve received youngsters working up and down the steps proper now.“
Noting the harmful circumstances, he added this recommendation to fellow Texans, a day earlier than heading to the airport: “When you can keep house, don’t exit on the roads, don’t threat the ice. … Don’t threat it. Maintain your loved ones protected, and simply keep house and hug your youngsters.”
Julián Castro, a former Obama housing secretary and San Antonio Mayor, mentioned Cruz “must be on the cellphone with federal companies, not on a visit to Mexico,” asserting that “in crises like these, members of Congress play a vital position connecting their constituents to emergency providers and help.”
In crises like these, members of Congress play a vital position connecting their constituents to emergency providers and help. @tedcruz must be on the cellphone with federal companies, not on a visit to Mexico. https://t.co/bjbehcaAwi
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) February 18, 2021
Defenders similar to Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative commentator pardoned by Trump in 2018 for making an unlawful marketing campaign contribution, argued there was little Cruz might do if he’d stayed in Texas, whereas in Cancun, “he’s not utilizing up useful assets of vitality, meals and water that may now be utilized by another person. That is in all probability the very best factor he might do for the state proper now.”
“Senate is out, he can afford it,” wrote one reader, Dallas resident Mark Gist. “What precisely is the issue?”
Conservative pundit Erick Erickson known as it “ignorance” for anybody to suppose a senator “can do something a few state energy grid,” drawing a rebuttal that, given his huge community and excessive profile, Cruz is “uniquely positioned” to catalyze aid efforts.
O’Rourke, not in workplace, led a “Texas welfare verify” cellphone financial institution that made 151,000 calls on Wednesday to attach weak Texans to warming facilities, meals and different assets, as an example.
What might @tedcruz do if he had been right here in Texas? I’m hard-pressed to say. If he’s in Cancun, meaning he’s not utilizing up useful assets of vitality, meals and water that may now be utilized by another person. That is in all probability the very best factor he might do for the state proper now
— Dinesh D’Souza (@DineshDSouza) February 18, 2021
Some on-line likened Cruz to Marie Antoinette, the queen through the French Revolution who purportedly quipped “allow them to eat cake” when advised that the folks had been ravenous and had no bread.
“Allow them to fly to Cancun,” one detractor imagined Cruz replying when advised that Texans had been chilly.
Actor Billy Baldwin took it a step additional: “Allow them to eat snow.”
The Texas Democratic Get together issued its 21st demand for Cruz to resign, unsolicited recommendation that Cruz has lengthy shrugged off as political opportunism. Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa accused “Cancun Cruz” of “abandoning us in our biggest time of want,” and mentioned the holiday exhibits that “Texas Republicans don’t give a rattling about you or me.”
Such calls have include escalating frequency since Trump’s defeat in November, when Cruz started amplifying his false claims that the election had been stolen by means of fraud.
At American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic group, president Bradley Beychok mentioned Cruz was apparently “sipping mai tais on a seaside in Cancun” – although margaritas and cerveza can be extra frequent – as tens of millions of Texans freeze.
“Senator Cruz ought to do his constituents a favor and keep on the seaside as a substitute of getting paid by taxpayers to do a job he clearly has little interest in doing,” he mentioned. “It’s been clear since he unapologetically helped incite a violent revolt on January 6 that Ted Cruz just isn’t match to symbolize Texas in the USA Senate. He must resign so Texans can have a Senator who really provides a rattling.”
CNN, Politico and different main shops had been hounding Cruz aides for any form of clarification, with no extra success than house state information media.
Punchbowl Information discovered what seemed to be Cruz’s title on the improve listing for a United flight again to Houston Thursday afternoon, suggesting a hasty retreat, although inside an hour, Cruz’s title had disappeared. Nor did it present up on improve lists for 2 later flights.
With Cruz aides ignoring inquiries, his plans remained one thing of a thriller.
Right here’s the improve listing for this afternoon’s flight from Cancun to Houston.
Seems like @tedcruz is on his approach again, @danpfeiffer. He’s simply narrowly lacking the improve listing
That’s assuming that “cru, r” is him. And I do. pic.twitter.com/CqfKa5rJfG
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) February 18, 2021
It isn’t all the time a given that a comms workplace feels the necessity to affirm or deny unhealthy intel. However you’d suppose at this juncture if that wasn’t Ted Cruz in Cancun his employees would have mentioned so.
— Sam Stein (@samstein) February 18, 2021
The Senate has been in recess since Saturday afternoon, when Cruz and 44 different Republicans voted to acquit Trump on a cost of inciting revolt.
By Thursday morning, Cruz had remained quiet on-line. Shortly after the flight landed, he retweeted a tweet from Gov. Greg Abbott noting that 1.6 million clients had energy restored on Wednesday.
In December, Cruz hit Austin Mayor Steve Adler and different Democrats as “utter hypocrites” for ignoring pandemic tips to keep away from pointless journey.
“Don’t neglect @MayorAdler who took a non-public jet with eight folks to Cabo and WHILE IN CABO recorded a video telling Austinites to `keep house when you can…this isn’t the time to chill out.’” he tweeted.
You are proper. However you and your fellow slime baggage are hypocrites, too.
— No person over 17 ought to eat Takis (@Jaxon95228411) December 2, 2020
Charlotte Clymer, a former spokesperson for the Human Rights Marketing campaign, quipped that she was “kinda shocked Ted Cruz is ready to fly anyplace with all his baggage” and that she anticipated to the radicalized Texas GOP to discover a solution to blame the uproar on Antifa.
“My grandmother is a third-generation Texan. She’s not in her own residence proper now. She’s at a relative’s home, the place their energy continues to be off, too, as a result of they’ve a hearth to maintain everybody comparatively heat. And Ted Cruz took a vacay to Cancún,” she wrote on Twitter.
My grandmother is a third-generation Texan. She’s not in her own residence proper now. She’s at a relative’s home, the place their energy continues to be off, too, as a result of they’ve a hearth to maintain everybody comparatively heat.
And Ted Cruz took a vacay to Cancún.
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) February 18, 2021
by means of his workplace and marketing campaign, ted cruz has 1000’s of contacts throughout the state and direct entry to the sorts of people that might help set up and ship aid. for somebody who isn’t within the texas authorities itself, he’s uniquely positioned to assist. https://t.co/djnndcI0MS
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) February 18, 2021
Washington correspondent Tom Benning contributed to this report.