Texans have lots of questions on their minds these days. When will the heat come back on? Will we run out of water? And now, where's Ted? That would be Sen. Ted Cruz, who confirmed on Thursday that he flew to Cancun with his family amid the state's deep freeze. Cruz was on his way back to Texas and says the quick trip was an innocent one, but some critics were calling for his resignation. Coverage:
- "With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends," Cruz said in a statement Thursday, per CNBC. "Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon.” Cruz said he and his staff have been in "constant communication" with state and local leaders amid widespread power blackouts.
- Cruz's trouble began Wednesday, when photos showed up on Twitter, showing him at a Houston airport waiting to board the flight to Mexico. Former MSNBC anchor David Shuster tweeted a photo of Cruz on the plane. He was with his wife, Heidi, and their two daughters.
- Before Cruz confirmed the trip, both the AP and Fox News reported that he did indeed fly to Cancun. "The photos speak for themselves," a GOP source tells Fox.
- Critics have been unloading, notes the Washington Post. "Texans are dying and you're on a flight to Cancun," tweeted the Texas Democratic Party on Wednesday night, adding the hashtag "TedCruzRESIGN.” Democratic state Rep. Gene Wu wrote, "Guess which US Senator from Texas flew to Cancun while the state was freezing to death and having to boil water?"
- At CNN, Chris Cillizza writes that Cruz failed a fundamental law of politics. Nobody expects Cruz to single-handedly fix the power grid, but in times of crisis like this, people do expect their leaders to be a source of reassurance, he writes.
- The heat wasn't only from the left. A tweet from conservative Sonny Bunch of the Bulwark: "I can’t believe I have to say this, but: if you’re an American pol whose state is enduring a crisis of Katrina-like proportions and instead of going to help your constituents in even a basic, performative sort of way you FLY TO ANOTHER COUNTRY’S BEACH TOWN, you’re doing it wrong." BuzzFeed rounds up other online criticism, and it's plentiful.
- Politico notes that Cruz has previously courted controversy during emergencies, including when he criticized a relief package for victims of Hurricane Sandy as too extravagant. He was reminded of that years later when he sought emergency spending for his own state after Hurricane Harvey.
(Another Texas politician caught flak amid the deep freeze