It’s been a bad week for Senator Ted Cruz. Castigated for leaving Texas for sunny Cancun amid a meltdown of the state’s power grid and a fierce winter storm, the Republican’s mea culpas have only earned him further condemnation.
Cruz returned home to Texas on Thursday after he was spotted boarding a plane to Mexico earlier this week, sparking instant outrage as critics accused him of abandoning his constituents during a crisis. At the time, a major blizzard had knocked out power for as many as 4 million Texans, forcing thousands to seek refuge in shelters and “warming centers” across the state.
So far, the senator has issued multiple statements attempting to bat away his detractors, explaining that the vacation was taken at the behest of his daughters in order to get them out of their cold, dark home in Houston. While Cruz suggested he had always intended to return the next day and was merely acting as a chaperone, his comments to Fox’s Sean Hannity later on Thursday night appeared to walk back his earlier statement.
Ted Cruz is still blaming his daughters pic.twitter.com/F1WacMwcpu
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 19, 2021
“Last night, I flew down with them to the beach, and then I flew back this afternoon,” Cruz said, adding that while he “initially planned to stay through the weekend and to work remotely there,” he began to have “second thoughts” on the flight and decided to return.
His explanation has been widely slammed as an attempt to pass blame to his children and avoid answering for what Cruz himself agreed was “obviously a mistake.”
Compounding the criticism was a story in New York Magazine on Thursday night alleging that Cruz left his poodle – Snowflake – at home while he went off to Cancun’s pristine beaches. Journalist Michael Hardy shared a photo of what he said was Cruz’s pooch, seen staring longingly out his front door. Hardy noted that the dog was left in the care of a security guard.
Just drove by Ted Cruz’s house in Houston. His lights are off but a neighbor told me the block got its power back last night. Also, Ted appears to have left behind the family poodle. pic.twitter.com/TmLyGQkASy
— Michael Hardy (@mkerrhardy) February 18, 2021
I thought it couldn’t get worse for Ted Cruz then I learned he ditched his pet poodle at home named Snowflake when he left town
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) February 19, 2021
Text messages obtained by the New York Times, meanwhile, appear to show that Cruz’s wife, Heidi, invited neighbors to join their family on the getaway. The Times, however, noted that the messages suggested a “hastily planned trip,” cutting against some of the senator’s critics claiming he had always intended a longer stay but only returned after he was spotted.