Ted Cruz flew to Cancun in the course of the Texas winter storm

“Flyin ‘” Ted Cruz has landed.

Cruz, the Republican Senator from Texas, sparked outrage Thursday after flying from Houston to Cancun, Mexico for a family vacation, despite millions of his Texans freezing from a major winter storm and widespread power outages.

Thousands of Twitter posts blew up Cruz on the out of date outing after photos of him were shared online at a Houston airport and then on a plane Wednesday afternoon.

The Texas Democratic Party called, among other things, for Cruz to resign 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 later told reporters that he had “concerns” about leaving the state once he boarded the plane in Houston on Wednesday.

He said his two daughters, 12 and 10 years old, asked him and his wife to take them to Mexico after the Cruz family lost power themselves.

Images allegedly showing Ted Cruz on board a United Airlines flight from Houston, TX to Cancun, Mexico.

Source: @Ian McBride via Twitter

“It was obviously a mistake and in hindsight I would not have done it,” Cruz told reporters after flying back to Houston by himself from Cancun, where temperatures were just above freezing.

“I tried to be a father.”

Cruz also said, “Of course I understand why people are upset.”

“Look, we’re in a weird time where twitter has gone mad and the media has gone mad and there is a lot of venom and vitriol that I honestly think are unhappy on both sides. I think everyone should Treat each other with respect and decency and try to understand each other better in times of crisis, “he added.

Cruz said his original “plan was to stay with the family for the weekend”.

He said the past year had been tough for his children as it was for other Americans, and it got tougher earlier in the week when the family lost power after opening their home to some friends who previously had electricity in their own homes had lost.

“The power went out as soon as we sat down for dinner,” he said.

“On the second day we were gathered around the fireplace as the only source of heat,” said Cruz.

His daughters finally asked, “How about a trip? Let’s go somewhere where it’s not so cold,” said Cruz.

“We tried to be good parents,” he added.

Cruz said, “I started worrying about the trip,” almost as soon as I got on the plane.

“On the one hand, all of us who are parents have a responsibility to take care of our children and our families. Texans have done that across the state,” said Cruz.

But I also have a responsibility that I take very seriously when fighting for the state of Texas. And honestly, it didn’t feel right to leave with so many Texans injured. So I changed my return flight and went back on the first available flight. “

Cruz said, “It was my intention to be able to work remotely, be on the phone, be on the internet, be on the zoom, to be engaged, but I had to be here.”

“And that’s why I came back, and as the firestorm got bigger and bigger … it became all the more imperative that I had to come back because our priority should be to fix this,” he said.

“And I didn’t want all the screaming and screaming about this trip to distract even a moment from the real problems.”

Cruz said he would “keep working to restore power.”

“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 to leave Thursday with a man in a polo shirt who 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’s website states it is “a five-star oceanfront retreat in the heart of Cancun”.

“The Ritz-Carlton in Cancun is perfectly located on the Yucatan Peninsula, seamlessly blending coastal luxury with the region’s rich cultural heritage,” says the location.

“Immerse yourself in sensory experiences that range from cooking classes to poolside mixology classes. This five-star hotel also features iconic restaurants, indigenous 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 that said, “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 events 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 that appeared 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 made a sharp bang at Cruz when he was 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 expect this to be the focus of all individuals in the state or surrounding states who have been 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 to death indicate that he was chosen to represent and serve. “

Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio 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 flying to Mexico, Cruz got 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, Austin, Texas mayor, who himself flew to Mexico for his daughter’s wedding in November despite urging his city residents 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 talking about him.

Cruz later became a passionate Trump supporter and last month unsuccessfully tried 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.

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