Monday, March 1, 2021

Welcome Home Ted: Vacationing Senator Resurfaces In TX Amid Public Shaming

CANCUN, QUINTANA ROO  - FEBRUARY 18: Ted Cruz checks in for a flight at Cancun International Airport after a backlash over his Mexican family vacation as his home state of Texas endured a Winter storm. The Republican politician came under fire after jetting to the warm holiday destination as hundreds of thousands of people in the lone star state suffered a loss of power. Reports stated that Cruz was due to catch a flight back to Houston, Texas on February 18, 2021 in Cancun, Quintana Roo. (Photo by MEGA/GC Images)

Houston, we have a problem.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who escaped his disaster-stricken home state with a trip to Mexico on Wednesday, returned to Texas on Thursday after hours of online mockery

Cruz finally responded to the uproar he prompted, while many Texans continue to struggle without power or safe drinking water, in a statement that blamed his kids for the fiasco.

“I was taking care of my family, the same way Texans all across the state were taking care of my family,” Cruz told reporters a couple hours after landing in Houston.

The senator confirmed what had been previously reported — that he changed his schedule after an internet outrage mob hounded him for skipping his state while it was in crisis. Rather than stay in Mexico through the weekend as he’d planned, Cruz booked an early flight home Thursday.

At Cancun International Airport, Cruz told a reporter he was flying back home “to work to try to get the power on.” 

Eager cameras followed Cruz his whole way home, hoping for a word from the junior senator. 

Upon landing in Houston, Cruz found himself facing a media circus.

“It’s obviously a mistake, and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it,” Cruz told reporters Thursday evening.

“I was trying to be a dad,” the senator added, describing his daughters’ request to leave town and escape the cold. “There are a lot of parents who would be like, ‘Alright, if I can do this, great!’ That’s what I wanted to do.”

“From the moment I sat on the plane, I began really second-guessing that decision,” Cruz added.

The backlash over Cruz’s decision to decamp to Mexico as hundreds of thousands of Texans were going on a fourth day without power amid winter storms was so fierce that even the state’s Republican Party chair Allen West hung Cruz out to dry.

Asked about Cruz’s trip to Mexico, West appeared to want no part in condoning the senator’s actions.

“That’s something that he has to answer to his constituents about,” West told the Associated Press when asked whether Cruz’s travel was appropriate.

West added that like many other Texans, he is simply trying to survive the state’s energy crisis that has caused millions to lose power in freezing weather.

“I’m here trying to take care of my family and look after my friends and others that are still without power,” West said. “That’s my focus.”

Even Fox News — which initially turning to its fixation with culture war grievances while the scandal around Cruz unfolded — came around to conceding that the Trump loyalist’s trip to Mexico wasn’t a great idea after all.

“I mean this is kind of day one stuff if you’re a politician,” Fox News political commentator Jesse Watters said. “If there’s a weather disaster in your state, you don’t go on a tropical vacation.”

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