Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) can’t do anything about the power outages running rampant all over Texas after a brutal winter storm. The power grid got overloaded. It has not been fully restored. And millions are just enduring the brutal temperatures as this is getting fixed. Cruz cannot flip the switch and fix everything, but this is all about optics here. And leaving your frozen state for Mexico with your family isn’t the best idea. First, you’re one of the most vocal and visible Republicans out there. You’re going to get noticed at the airport. Second, again, it looks terrible. Fair or unfair—the criticism over this outing was going to be lobbed at Cruz over this trip.
While it doesn’t negate his poor judgment here, there are periphery issues that are disturbing. One is that the senator’s schedule was leaked to the press. The texts from his wife, Heidi, were leaked as well. The New York Times obtained them from folks on her thread in which Mrs. Cruz discussed this outing to Cancun, and invited all who wanted to come to join them since they were “freezing.” Heidi may need to reevaluate her friends:
Photos of Mr. Cruz and his wife, Heidi, boarding the flight ricocheted quickly across social media and left both his political allies and rivals aghast at a tropical trip as a disaster unfolded at home. The blowback only intensified after Mr. Cruz, a Republican, released a statement saying he had flown to Mexico “to be a good dad” and accompany his daughters and their friends; he noted he was flying back Thursday afternoon, though he did not disclose how long he had originally intended to stay.
Text messages sent from Ms. Cruz to friends and Houston neighbors on Wednesday revealed a hastily planned trip. Their house was “FREEZING,” as Ms. Cruz put it — and she proposed a getaway until Sunday. Ms. Cruz invited others to join them at the Ritz-Carlton in Cancún, where they had stayed “many times,” noting the room price this week ($309 per night) and its good security. The text messages were provided to The New York Times and confirmed by a second person on the thread, who declined to be identified because of the private nature of the texts.
For more than 12 hours after the airport departure photos first emerged, Mr. Cruz’s office declined to comment on his whereabouts. The Houston police confirmed that the senator’s office had sought their assistance for his airport trip on Wednesday, and eventually Mr. Cruz was spotted wheeling his suitcase in Mexico on Thursday as he returned to the state he represents in the Senate.
“What’s happening in Texas is unacceptable,” Mr. Cruz told a television crew at the Cancún airport. He was wearing a Texas state flag mask and a short-sleeved polo shirt tucked into his jeans; the temperature in Cancún was above 80 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday, and in the 30s in Houston.
After landing back in the United States, Mr. Cruz offered a new statement with a different tone from earlier in the day, when he had tried to explain the vacation without regrets and left the impression that it might have always been a one-day trip for him. Speaking to reporters after his arrival home, he conceded that the trip was “obviously a mistake” and said he had begun having “second thoughts” as soon as he boarded the plane to Mexico intent on a few days of remote work in the sun.
It was an unforced error. Cruz should have known better. But this also isn’t Watergate. This is surely not like Andrew Cuomo hiding the true COVID death toll in his state to make himself look better. That’s a scandal, an impeachable one. What Cruz did was just a bad judgment call. We’ll move on and survive, though the liberal media will act as if this was a massive scandal akin to tax evasion, fraud, or something the Lincoln Project did. It’s not any of that.
Be safe out there, Texas. You’ve been through worse. You’ll come through this as well.