Summary List Placement
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is traveling back to Houston from Cancun, Mexico, on Thursday, CNN first reported, as he faces on onslaught of criticism for taking a vacation while his state faces a severe winter storm.
The family trip had been planned a long time ago, but Cruz was expected to return imminently, a source told the Associated Press. Images apparently showing Cruz on a standby list for a flight from Cancun to Houston also surfaced on social media on Thursday morning, but his name eventually disappeared.
Hours after the news broke on his trip to Cancun, Cruz in a statement confirmed his plans to return to Texas on Thursday.
“This has been an infuriating week for Texas,” Cruz said. “With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon.”
The Texas lawmaker said his team has been in “constant communication” with state and local leaders to “get to the bottom of what happened in Texas.”
The storm has left millions of Texans without power, heat, and potable water amid record-low temperatures.
Cruz left for Mexico on Wednesday.
Many were seemingly enraged by the prospect of the senator abandoning his state as it struggles to contend with the devastating storm.
Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat and former House member who ran against Cruz in 2018, excoriated the Texas senator over his trip. In an interview with MSNBC on Thursday, O’Rourke discussed Cruz’s role in the Capitol attack on January 6 and took a swipe at the Texas Republican for leaving their state when he did.
“Unless we hold those responsible accountable for what they did — yes, that means Donald Trump, but it also means the junior senator from the state of Texas, who I understand is vacationing in Cancun right now, when people are literally freezing to death in the state he was elected to represent and serve,” O’Rourke said.
Cruz was also widely lambasted on Twitter over his Cancun trip, including by other congressional lawmakers.
After the George Floyd uprisings in Minneapolis, when thousands were struggling to find food, my office and I held food drives and donated more than 20 tons of food to the community.
Meanwhile, as millions of Texans lack power, heat, and food, @tedcruz heads off to Cancun. Hm.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 18, 2021
Sen. Ted Cruz likes his “Come and Take” mask so much that he wore it to the inauguration and on the plane to Cancun.
He must mean his job… pic.twitter.com/0ADujo6s9Z
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) February 18, 2021
Ted Cruz tweeting a glowing tribute to Rush Limbaugh from a resort in Cancun (where he flew tonight while his constituents are literally freezing to death) is peak @GOP.
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) February 18, 2021
So far this year, @tedcruz:
Peddled lies that led to an insurrection, which cost lives and left 140 police injured.
Fled to #Cancun during catastrophic weather in TX, while his constituents are sleeping in their cars and burning furniture to stay alive.
Hell of a job, Rafael.
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) February 18, 2021
Cruz’s office did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment.