Family vacations are great. They’re fun. They’re a time to power down, and in the world of politics, such things are true luxuries. Ted Cruz probably should have thought twice about absconding to Cancun as his state is suffering an energy crisis after a brutal winter storm that has left millions without power in the extreme cold. The Texas Republican was seen boarding an airplane for Mexico on Wednesday. Not the time, Ted. It’s not as bad as Rachel Levine, a Biden Health and Human Services nominee, removing her mother from a nursing home in Pennsylvania as she was ordering these facilities to accept COVID patients, but it’s a similar vein with regards to optics. Okay, maybe a better example was when Marion Barry decided to go to Super Bowl 21 while DC was getting pounded by a blizzard. It was quite the trip. Barry partied too much and was rushed to the hospital. Barry was slammed for showing a ‘blizzard of indifference.’ (via Washington City Paper):
After learning of the snowstorm, Barry chose to stay in California. After learning D.C. was about to be hit by a second, even bigger storm, some thought he might finally decide to return early and take the helm. But he instead stayed for the Super Bowl itself…
The day after the game Barry was in Oak View Park partying and playing poker with friends… that evening, after drinking several bottles of champagne and a quart of cognac, Barry and two women friends disappeared into a bedroom and closed the door. When the two women left the townhouse, Barry slumped to a sofa, head thrown back. His nose ran, and he made low grunting noises. The mayor clutched his chest and said he was having trouble breathing…. At Daniel Freedman Hospital Barry was given oxygen and immediately began to feel better. He told the hospital that blood tests and other exams weren’t necessary, and he was released.
The District ultimately got hit with 26 inches of snow.
As for Super Bowl 21, the New York Giants became world champions, but back to Ted.
This is your job, and it’s not like this could have been a covert operation. You’re one of the most visible faces of the GOP. Obviously, I’m not saying you could have stopped the storm. That’s nonsense, but politically this was a horrible misstep, senator (via NYT):
As Texas was battered by an icy storm and widespread power losses that left millions of residents freezing and fearing for their safety, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas left the state on Wednesday and traveled to Mexico for a previously planned family vacation, according to a person with direct knowledge of the trip.
Photos of Mr. Cruz and his wife boarding a flight from Houston to Cancún, Mexico sparked a fierce outcry on social media late Wednesday. The person familiar with his trip, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss Mr. Cruz’s personal travel, said the senator planned to return to Texas on Thursday.
As Mr. Cruz left the country, his home state was gripped by crisis: millions of people without power, many without running water and a deep freeze so severe that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had been activated to send supplies. Gov. Greg Abbott declared that, “Every source of power that the state of Texas has has been compromised.”
While the city of Houston was gripped by the freezing weather, a member of Mr. Cruz’s staff contacted the Houston Police Department personnel at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Wednesday afternoon requesting “assistance upon arrival,” according to Jodi Silva, a department spokeswoman.
Mr. Cruz’s decision to leave his state in the middle of a crisis was an especially confounding one for a politician who has already run for president once, in 2016, and widely seen as wanting to run again in 2024 or beyond.
Mr. Cruz, 50, narrowly won re-election in 2018 against Beto O’Rourke, a former representative, with less than 51 percent of the vote. In that race, Mr. Cruz aggressively touted his efforts in a past emergency, Hurricane Harvey. He is not up for re-election again until 2024.
Yes, the leaking of a sitting senator’s schedule is disturbing as well, but that’s beside the point. Ted should’ve known better about the optics of all of this, especially since it was known long before he boarded the plane that this crisis could last all week. Meanwhile, Texans continue to endure extreme temperatures and no power, which has led to tragic results in some cases. A mother and child died of carbon monoxide poisoning when they ran their car to warm their house. A family of six was also treated for monoxide poisoning when they used a charcoal grill inside.
UPDATE: Cruz responds:
In a statement, the Texas Republican said he flew with his daughters on Wednesday and would be returning Thursday amid an uproar over the family trip.“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 Democratic Party is calling on Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) to resign after unverified photos surfaced on social media purportedly showing him traveling to Cancun, Mexico, as millions of Texas residents were without power amid blackouts from the freezing weather.
don’t think that statement is gonna cut it— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) February 18, 2021