Texas Sen. Ted Cruz returned to his home state Thursday afternoon after a very quick Cancun trip that was resoundingly condemned by critics.
The family jaunt occurred as millions of Texans were without power and safe drinking water amid a bizarre freeze that has left at least 21 people dead in the southern US.
The Republican confirmed accusations that grew from a social media post showing him flying from Houston. But he said he was just accompanying his pre-teen daughters for the trip down.
“With school canceled 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,” Cruz said.
The trip triggered questions about why the senator decided to leave Texas while millions of his constituents are suffering during a massive storm and power failure. As well, public health authorities have cautioned against international travel amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rates the risk of covid-19 in Mexico at the agency’s highest level of warning. “Travelers should avoid all travel to Mexico,” advises the CDC.
It was not immediately clear whether Cruz cut short his trip amid the furor. Also unknown is whether he was tested for COVID-19 either before the trip or in preparation for today’s flight.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki chided Cruz during a press conference.
“Many people across the state are without power [and] without the resources they need, and we expect that would be the focus of anyone in the state who was elected to represent them,” said Psaki. The Texas Democratic party has called for Cruz’s resignation.
Cruz is expected to land in Houston at 3:47 p.m. local time.