Sen. Ted Cruz, usually prolific on Twitter, has remained silent for more than 13 hours as the Associated Press reports he took a vacation to Mexico during Texas' winter storm crisis.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been silent amid mounting reports that he traveled to Cancun, Mexico, during devastating Texas winter storms that have left millions of his constituents without power, heat, or water in freezing temperatures.
Unprecedented cold temperatures and widescale failure of the Texas power grid this week resulted in statewide power outages. The White House declared a federal state of emergency Sunday, authorizing Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief and federal funding to be diverted to the state. More than 2.5 million Texans remain without power and several have died.
Reports first emerged Wednesday night that Cruz had been photographed boarding a plane to Cancun during the crisis when former MSNBC anchor David Shuster tweeted a photo of a masked individual he named as Cruz on a United Airlines flight.
"Just confirmed Sen. @TedCruz and his family flew to Cancun tonight for a few days at a resort they've visited before. Cruz seems to believe there isn't much for him to do in Texas for the millions of fellow Texans who remain without electricity/water and are literally freezing," he tweeted.
A Fox News report Thursday morning claimed confirmation from a GOP source that Cruz had indeed traveled to Cancun Wednesday night, just before a Thursday Associated Press report confirmed Cruz had gone on a family vacation to Mexico.
Previously, numerous political reporters tweeted late Wednesday and early Thursday that they had reached out to Cruz's office and received no confirmation as to his whereabouts, including CNN chief congressional respondent Manu Raju, fellow CNN correspondent Daniella Diaz, Politico congressional reporter Andrew Desiderio, and Dallas Morning News Washington bureau chief Todd Gillman.
Keith Edwards, who formerly served as the top digital adviser for the campaign of Democratic Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff, also claimed Wednesday night that he received multiple direct messages on Twitter of photos of Cruz on the flight taken by fellow passengers.
Political logistician and commentator Doug Landry posted a United Airlines upgrade list for flight 1020 from Houston, Texas, to Cancun, Mexico, Wednesday evening indicating Cruz might be #2 on the standby list. Other reporters posted passenger lists indicating that Cruz is currently slated to fly back from Cancun Thursday afternoon.
Cruz, usually active on Twitter, has been silent on the platform for more than 13 hours, despite earlier Wednesday posting advice on where Texans could find warming shelters in San Antonio as well as a tribute to far-right radio host Rush Limbaugh, who died Wednesday of late-stage lung cancer.
Meanwhile, Cruz's former rival for his Senate seat in 2018, Beto O'Rourke, has been at work helping seniors in Texas, hosting a virtual event Wednesday night where volunteers called 21,000 Texan seniors to find them warming centers, food, or shelter.
It's not the first time Cruz has come under fire for a tone-deaf response to a crisis. In late 2020, Cruz was among several lawmakers to attack Democratic leadership in California when an unprecedented heat wave rocked the state, causing power outages.
And just as the U.S. Capitol was breached by far-right extremists on Jan. 6, constituents received fundraising texts from Cruz's campaign, although Cruz later said they were automated.
"I'm leading the fight to reject electors from key states unless there is an emergency audit of the election results," the message said. "Will you stand with me?"
In December, Cruz slammed Democratic lawmakers for not following their own COVID-19 guidelines, writing, "Hypocrites. Complete and utter hypocrites.And don't forget @MayorAdler who took a private jet with eight people to Cabo and WHILE IN CABO recorded a video telling Austinites to 'stay home if you can...this is not the time to relax.'"
In 2017, Cruz blasted the media for implying he wasn't doing enough to render aid for struggling Texans during Hurricane Harvey and claimed it was a red herring to criticize him for voting against relief aid to New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy.
"I have been spending much of the past week — I've been in Houston almost nonstop — and I've been spending much of the past week trying to coordinate federal, state, and local search-and-rescue efforts, make sure we have the assets on the ground, make sure we have helicopters and boats and high water trucks, make sure we're able to get the resources to the people who are in need, and I think that that should bring us together. [...] For folks who are focused on raising political shots and snipes about the Sandy Bill, you know, facts matter.
"I'm sorry there are politicians that are desperate to get their names in the news and saying whatever they need to do that," he added.
A press release from the Texas Democrats has called for Cruz's resignation after his trip to Cancun during the crisis.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.