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GOP Sen. Ted Cruz was in Cancun, Mexico, for less than 24 hours before he abruptly changed his original plan to stay in the resort city until Saturday and rushed back to Texas, according to multiple reports.
Cruz faced an onslaught of criticism for leaving Texas on Wednesday as the state contends with a deadly winter storm that saw millions lose power. Early on Thursday morning, he reportedly contacted United Airlines and changed his flight from Saturday to Thursday afternoon. This development was first reported Skift reporter Edward Russell, citing an unidentified source with the airline, but was also separately confirmed by NBC reporter Peter Alexander.
Insider contacted Cruz’s office for clarification on whether the Texas Republican altered his original itinerary and flew home early as a result of the torrent of backlash he faced for leaving the country. Cruz’s press secretary responded with a widely-circulated statement from the senator regarding the trip. The senator’s statement did not specify whether he always planned to return on Thursday or if Cruz decided to change his flight after arriving in Cancun.
Cruz in his statement said that he went to Cancun at the behest of his daughters, who were out of school as a result of the winter storm.
“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.”
Sen. Ted Cruz at the Cancún airport:
“Yesterday my daughters asked if they could take a trip with some friends, and Heidi and I agreed, so I flew down with them last night, dropped them off here and now I’m headed back to Texas.” pic.twitter.com/5d8UwlmZWv
— The Recount (@therecount) February 18, 2021
As he headed back to Texas on Thursday, Cruz at the Cancun airport told reporters that his daughters asked him on Wednesday if they could take a trip with friends to Cancun. Cruz said that he and his wife agreed, and he decided to accompany them.
“I flew down with them last night, dropped them off here, and now I’m headed back to Texas,” Cruz said, adding that “what’s happening in Texas is unacceptable.”
The Texas senator’s justification for the trip has been met with widespread skepticism and mockery, and critics accuse him of throwing his daughters under the bus for the bad optics of taking a vacation with his state in crisis.
“Ted Cruz let Trump call his wife ugly and say his dad killed JFK, with no repercussions. Now he blames daughters for his abandonment of Texans during a deadly crisis,” tweeted Anthony Scaramucci, who was briefly White House communications director in the Trump administration. “Ted, you have no dignity, you are a disgrace and you will never be President, let alone Senator for much longer.”